What I've been thinking about lately is the formulation "What Would <fill in the name of your teacher> do?". It's important to have a teacher in spiritual practice. The experience, direction, instruction, guidance, support are essential. But who - or what - is that teacher? We're accustomed in America to seeing spiritual leadership corrupted by materialism, sex and greed. What if the teacher here can be anybody....a monk, sure, but maybe also a martial artist, a piano teacher, a leader at work. Anyone - - in this particular point, I'm more interested in being able to create that moment of cognitive distance.
So the question "What Would <fill in the blank> do?" is a cue for each moment and not necessarily asking for a prescriptive list of required responses. Rather, asking the question "What Would Socrates Do?" (for example) gives me that immediate second opinion about what is actually happening in the moment. Maybe I am reacting with anger, and taking the second to consider Socrates would allow me to realize that this anger is actually more like hurt pride...that perhaps some humility and gratitude in the moment would transform everything.
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