Paying attention and keeping open awareness are familiar advice in our practice. However, these are but half of practice. The other is that of attunement or alignment. By this I mean the way we express our selves in relation to what we are attending to. We might consider a stringed instrument, for example, where the harmony and musicality depends on the attunement between the strings and between the instruments in a group. In the same way, we do not exist independent of our context; we are part of an ensemble. Harmony, resonance and attunement are how we produce the sweet music of our lives.
The simplest form is our own physical alignment, the balance and clarity of how we hold our bodies when we walk or sit. We are all used to checking our spine, leaning and hand position when we sit or walk. We instantly notice the difference in strength between a posture of alignment and one of imbalance. This is a dynamic activity, we check again and again with each breath to see how we are in our bodies and in relation to the space we inhabit.
On a larger scale, our practice is one of aligning and attuning to the activity of the Buddhas. In each moment of our lives, in each decision we make, our faith recommends we establish ourselves in relation to that single and unending purpose - presenting the Dharma. There is a popular motto making the rounds - “what would (Jesus, Buddha, whoever) do?” that invites us to act like some model. More importantly for us is to the question “how are the Buddhas doing...?” We need to do more than mimic the Buddhas, but rather align ourselves with their ever-presenting activity.
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu
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