Everything Matters!

Often the words of my beloved Zen teacher, Reb Anderson, come to mind: “Because ultimately nothing matters, every little thing matters in our lives moment-to-moment.” He was referring to the higher absolute reality or ultimate reality, where everything balances out, in the sense that everything is ultimately free; inter-connected, inter-dependent, but essentially always free.

Everything has an “enlightened nature” or “Buddha nature.” There is a harmony and an absolutely perfect order to everything that we, deluded beings, do not easily see. And, exactly because we do not see this aspect of reality, where all is accounted for, we need to live with this conviction. We need to go by faith; we simply need to believe that everything goes on a scale and everything makes a difference.

I was thinking about these words, this morning while preparing the text for my upcoming yoga training seminars in Brussels. Looking at the rain falling on the trees outside, it dawned on me that when we go out to share the teachings as yoga teachers, we need to be authentic and teach not just a prescribed old method, a familiar easy story, the same thing over and over again, but something that is true and fresh for us this very moment.

This of course makes sense; we would all agree on this point. One subtlety that rises is this: Whatever goes through our mind, whatever we think, say, consume or do, plays into our teaching. In other words, we cannot hide. Everything is of consequence.

Don’t you love what Gandhi, I think, said: “Ethics is what you do, or the way you behave, when no-one is watching...” I have a different version of this: “Let me try to act as if I were on TV and the whole world was watching...” Who wouldn’t want the world to see their most attractive side? I know I would... and I also need to confess: I don’ t always have a very attractive side... no, I do not, lamentably. Especially when it comes to other drivers and particularly smoking, rude, canning taxi drivers... But then I know: this is what I should be noticing and paying attention to. My intolerant attitude for example. I cannot correct myself from one moment to the next. Actually, bad habits are persistent and resistant to change. Ego abhors self criticism, and our ego voice can camouflage our issues very well.


Laughing I remember a dear friend, fellow yoga teacher, who seeing me staring at his cigarette incredulously, he quickly exclaimed: “I am a Tantric, I smoke when I want to...” Well, this is one way of misunderstanding Tantra. But never mind what others do. It matters what we as practitioners and even yoga teachers or spiritual teachers do. What we eat, drink, smoke, say or think makes a difference and is somehow, even imperceptibly, imprinted in the way we teach or express ourselves. Our teaching is shiny and fresh when it reflects that degree of inner work.

So let us walk the walk and talk the talk. Let us try to live with integrity and consistency. Let us try to express the inner truth, by first looking deeply inside and trying to uncover this truth, whatever it may be. I will close with the words, actually a book title by another favorite Zen teacher, Cheri Huber: “What you are seeking is causing you to seek.” If we seek honesty, we will find at least a modicum of truth, and this will be a good enough guide for our teaching, practice, and life.

Sure we can! Abhaya!!!