Any practice has elements of inquiry, devotion, integrity and service

Any practice has elements of inquiry, devotion, integrity and service.

It can be an expression of love for reality (God, Buddha Mind). It can be an expression of curiosity: what happens if…? It can be an expression of integrity, a sincere intention to live more aligned with reality. And it can be an expression of service, of realigning this human life so it better can be of service to the larger whole.

So there is fertile ground for exploration here. Any of those four is a practice in itself, and it includes elements of each of the other ones. What is the devotion component of inquiry? What is the integrity component of service? What is the service component of devotion? What do I find in my own experience?

And if we want, we can always add on more categories and make it even more rich. For instance, body-oriented or body-inclusive practices, such as different forms of yoga, should be included. And what about relationships? Isn’t it all happening within relationships already? And what about the basic practice of allowing experience, as it is?

Exploring this is one way to see how any map or model falls apart when it is looked into more closely.

What initially seems clearly defined and separate, such as inquiry and devotion, are revealed to have elements of each other, and both are expressions of a simple love for and curiosity about reality. Inquiry is devotion. Devotion is inquiry. Integrity is another name for devotion. Service is another name for inquiry.

No map can hold this.

I can investigate this, over and over, in own experience, and see how any ideas and models fall apart.

And that can easily and happily co-exist with talking about this in simple and conventional ways. I can still talk about inquiry, devotion, integrity, service, and allowing experience, and I can still find it a very helpful shorthand and pointer, but it is now held a little lighter. I know, in immediacy and through own exploration, that these distinctions fall apart when looked at more closely. There is no real truth in them.

Trigger for the last part of this post: Tom McFarlane’s recent Sunday talk on how stories fall apart or self-destruct when investigated more closely.

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