Sunday I responded to the many requests Flint and I have had for ways that you might deepen your practice, or "do something more." Here is a list of possibilities. Please do not think of this as a list of "shoulds." Instead, imagine that these are various ways to practice that you might find beneficial on your path. Some of these things are more appropriate at different times or stages of your development; some of them are right for one person, but not necessarily appropriate for another. All of them can be useful. Please consult with Flint or I if you have questions about what might be most helpful for you.
First there are the general guidelines Flint has often mentioned:
Tell the truth from a place of compassion
Don’t be attached to outcomes
Next: A Practice Menu
Establish a daily sitting practice and commit yourself to it. This is the first priority, and it is nonnegotiable. If you have not yet established a daily sitting practice, this is where to begin.
Deepen your sitting practice by sitting with sangha (a community of practitioners) as often as possible
Work with a teacher, typically on a weekly basis
Make time for intensives, inquiry, and retreats, to allow yourself the space to develop
Study. Read and take classes that broaden your understanding of Zen and Buddhist teachings. Your teacher can advise you.
Take the initiative to find ways to help support the sangha. Don’t wait to be asked.
Take responsibility for learning roles such as timekeeper, clappers, side room monitor
Be in it for the long haul: don’t expect that you will even notice the “results” of your practice. Others will.
Be generous, with the sangha and with yourself. If you are benefiting from what is offered by Appamada, please consider regular financial support, in whatever amount makes sense for you. Be generous with yourself by allowing yourself to be nourished by this practice.
Don’t give up. Take every single thing you encounter as practice.
Appamada is not just the occasional mindful thought or attentive state of mind, it’s actually a commitment to being attentive. It’s more than just a meditative state of mind, it’s more than just being mindful. It has to do with that primary ethical or moral orientation we have in life, with which we bring into being whatever activity we’re engaged in. Whether in formal meditation, in our interactions with other people, in our social concerns, or in our political choices, it’s the energetic cherishing of what we regard as good.