“It is not my experience that we are here to fix the world, that we are here to change anything at all. I think we are here so the world can change us. And if part of that change is that the suffering of the world moves us to compassion, to awareness, to sympathy, to love, that is a very good thing.” – Cheri Huber
Cheri Huber, author of 20 books, has been a student and teacher of Zen for over 35 years. In 1983, Cheri founded the Mountain View Zen Center, and in 1987 she founded the Zen Monastery Peace Center near Murphys, California. She and the monks at the Monastery conduct workshops and retreats at these centers, other places around the U.S., and internationally.
In 1997, Cheri founded Living Compassion, a nonprofit organization dedicated to peace and service. Living Compassion’s primary work is the Africa Vulnerable Children Project, based in Zambia, where for the last 5 years they have been working with the people of Kantolomba, beginning the process of turning a slum of 11,000 people into a self-sustaining community.
Spirituality is a big business in this country, and it has become easy for people to participate superficially in it. It’s as if you’re obese and this supposedly “alternative” spirituality is like having all the high-fat, high-sugar food you want. You’re going to stay obese! We are so used to everything being easy, but it’s not easy to give up the ego. It takes sincerity for transformation to occur.
In fact, most people don’t even know what ego is; they can’t tell when it’s in charge. They really believe they are their ego. So we need a structure that enables us to begin to see ego for what it is and to differentiate between ego – that which believes itself to be continuous and real and living outside of life—and the Self—that which was here before we were and will be here after we are not. I don’t think it’s possible to achieve that awareness without a structure that requires us to not go with ego.
In Buddhism, we say that when you have suffered enough, you are going to get yourself to that which will make the difference. Everybody gets there when they want to. It’s perfect. You can suffer for as long as you wish, and when you no longer want to suffer, you can stop. That’s a very good thing!
Living from center is easy. Enlightenment is the easiest way in the world to live. What’s hard, grim, grisly, depressing, miserable, and oppressive is ego. And when we’re identified with that little illusion of a separate self, we don’t realize that the whole universe is behind us. That little ego is, in fact, an illusion, and everything that is true and authentic—all of the love, the awareness, the gratitude, the expansiveness, the generosity, the kindness—that’s who we are. That spirit is who we are and it’s calling us home. But the ego’s onslaught, which tries to keep us in its grip, is awe-inspiring. So anything that gives us a little lift up and offers us a clearer view, anything that reveals ego for what it is, is helpful.
This is where our inner Mentor becomes invaluable…. Continue Reading