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Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
80 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly winter 2014 is insignificant or that those aspects of spiritual training are unimportant. They are essential. Our environment affects our capacity to draw upon wholesome qualities within ourselves. In a way, the universe pulls its own strings; it is self-adjusting. But our inten- tions and actions are also part of the way things are. So rather than think- ing, “There is the universe, and I’m this separate entity who’s doing things with it,” we need to realize that we are intrin- sically involved. We are the universe; we are part of it, and the choices we make are part of the way things are. It’s not that what we do is imposing upon the world or in some way interfering with it—as T.S. Eliot put it, “Do I dare disturb the universe?”—but rather that we are part of it. When our hearts are attuned to that reality, our actions lead to whole- someness, to freedom and delight for ourselves. But when our actions are disharmonious or destructive, there’s naturally a painful result. Our actions are still part of the natural order, but they bring painful consequences. Moment to moment, day by day, week by week, year in and year out, it’s helpful to survey the way life takes shape. What we’re experiencing in this moment is the flow of the natural order—the extraordinary thing is that within that natural order we have the capacity to make changes, to have an effect. We are able to choose; this is what makes the possibility of liberation open to us. To see things in this way is to realize that our destiny—if you like to use that kind of language—is entirely in our own hands. When we make the choice to let go of self-centeredness and move toward awakening, to let go of that which is obstructive and harmful, we bring our hearts more and more completely into accord with reality. In this way, the mind becomes aware of its part in the uni- verse; it’s through our spiritual efforts that the universe is able to become aware of its own nature. We can make that choice. ➤ continued from page 32