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  • Thomas Bien

The Gift of Spiritual Practice

When I began spiritual practice, now nearly five decades ago, (oh my!), I believe I had a barely conscious belief that I would beyond the reach of life’s difficulties, ultimately rising above it all, unmoved, a stone Buddha, unshaken and unmoved.

It hasn’t worked that way.

The gifts of practice have been great, but not what I imagined. Instead of rising above, I am more aware than ever of my tender, quivering heart. Instead of calm transcendence I have found a greater vulnerability and sensitivity, to my own plight and the plight of others. In other words, there is a greater sense of kindness and compassion, toward myself and all beings, a greater sense of the fragility and vulnerability of life in all its forms.

I would not trade that for non-feeling, for any state that cuts me off from this tenderness of being alive.

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