Path of Aliveness

Enryu read from the book called Path of Aliveness by Christian Dillo

Encouraged to remain unmoving and withhold any attempt to make it go away.

Whatever your experience is, open up around it, just make space for it. Be the space for your experience. This added inner space has the power to transform conditioned reactivity.

Christian Dillo received Dharma transmission through Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Many readers will know Shunryu Suzuki as the author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, one of the most popular books of Zen spirituality ever published.

When talking about “liberation” from suffering, for instance, Dillo focuses on the positive more than the negative. Liberation is not only about what to avoid in or prune from one’s life; liberation is also about “the path of nourishment.” How can we make our experiences more nourishing to our lives? Allow them to “complete themselves and develop into bodily expression,” he explains.

He points to the example of crying: “We generally don’t like to experience sadness or grief. We tend to resist not only the painful sensations that come with loss but also the bodily convulsions involved in crying. Have you noticed the difference between a way of crying that feels purifying and one that leaves you depleted and distressed? The difference lies in the willingness to let the painful sensations sequence through your body.” Dillo then offers further teachings from the Buddhist practitioner who taught him this way to cry.

Taken from a review online:

The practice of Zen Buddhism can transform your life in the direction of less suffering and greater vitality in this very moment. The Path of Aliveness presents a fresh Buddhist path of rigorous exploration of experience at the sensory, emotional, and cognitive levels. Christian Dillo offers four tenets as guideposts for this exploration. It is possible, he writes, to:

 Cultivate a path of transformation.
 Liberate ourselves from unnecessary suffering.
 Live in accord with how things actually exist.
 Work for the benefit of all beings.

Dillo revisits classic Buddhist teachings such as the Four Noble Truths and the foundations of mindfulness meditation, reconstructing them as forms of embodiment training that are essential for transformation. This contemporary reconstruction of the teachings is always in the service of helping the reader make experiential distinctions in their own body-mind. This secular approach respectfully plumbs Buddhist tradition while opening itself to dialogue with science, psychotherapy, and other aspects of modern life. From this vantage, Buddhist practices appear as intentional cultivations moving us toward freedom, wisdom, and compassion. Dillo demonstrates how the space opened up by such practices can lead to skillful responsiveness, whether toward the problems in one’s life or broader issues like the ecological crisis.