Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/11/2019

Parking Practice

I was reminded again yesterday just how difficult the real practice of taking and giving can be. When we’re sitting comfortably on our cushion, imagining taking on the suffering of others it can be hard at times but it is truly nothing compared to the actual practice of voluntarily taking on the suffering of others.

Last night, I had the chance to exchange my comfort for the irritation and stress of someone else and I’m happy to report that I did it without hesitation. Still, it was instructive to watch my mind hem and haw as I was undertaking this odious task (trying to find parking in the East Village at 8 pm on a Friday night). I realized that this is quite literally where the rubber meets the road: if I don’t offer myself up and exchange my ease for the suffering of another then all of my meditation on the cushion is little more than daydreaming. And, as I lopped around and around my neighborhood I tried to engender the wish that those in the cars ahead of me find parking before me simply because I could see how much aversion and acquisitiveness there was stewing in my heart.

Most likely, the pursuit of parking spaces isn’t going to be such a stress-inducing monster for others but the point is to work with what we’ve got. For me, it has been one of the greatest stressors so it is the perfect field for practice. May we all put our difficulties to good use and grow towards love and compassion.

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