Liberation & Engagement

Liberation – as described in the previous post, goes hand in hand with engagement.

There is a realization of the ground it all happens within and as. And there is also the engagement and intention within all of this. There is the context and the content, and one does not in any way exclude the other.

This has come up for me from weekly phone conversations I have with someone about a particular form of mindfulness practice. I sometimes (actually quite frequently) have concerns about the content of that particular teaching, including lack of precision in language, only teaching at the mid-range, lack of subtlety range in teaching tools, lack of disclosure and sincerity about their history, and so on.

As soon as I mention any of this, the response is “what happens if you come to the breath and just allow all that to be?”

Of course, what happens is that the concerns either dissolve or just become part of the landscape (which it usually is anyway when I bring it up). There is a liberation in that. There is no need to be caught up in the content of experiences.

But if this is used as a way to avoid any discussion about content, it is a problem. To me, it seems as a quite one-sided approach, only emphasizing the context and not the content, only the liberation from being caught up in content and not the engagement with content.

It is fully possible to come to the breath, the body and so on, and see the concerns as just a pattern of the tapestry, a part of the landscape. And at the same time take that content seriously. Maybe the skillful means of teaching could be more skillful, or maybe there is something obvious I am missing? Either way, it seems helpful to explore it within this wider context of mindfulness.

One, whether it is context or content, is only half of the story.

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