Lojong Practice Journal: Train Wholeheartedly

The 59 Slogans through a social justice lens

One of the most impactful teachings I’ve ever encountered was from a talk by Ani Pema where she said: “If death is certain, and the time until death is uncertain, what’s the most important thing?”

While this isn’t a central teaching in my practice these days, for over a year it was a question I asked myself every single day. Knowing I will die, knowing all things are impermanent, knowing that anyone I love could be gone in the next breath, what is the most important thing? Knowing that change is constant, that we are interconnected, and that our choices matter, what is the most important thing? Knowing that we are all subject to reality and reality is swiftly shifting and indifferent, what is the most important thing?

To train wholeheartedly is to orient ourselves to what is most important every day, every moment. The most important thing is collective liberation — trans liberation, queer liberation, Black and Indigenous liberation — and every day I am alive is a day I can contribute to that. Asking myself what the most important thing is, knowing that death is inevitable but not a fixed point on the calendar of my life, has been essential to discovering my North Star:
I want us to be free.

How we train is deeply personal — ultimately you know the context of your life the best — and also has a far-reaching impact. The choices we make and how we inform those choices will ripple out to family, friends and colleagues, and therefore the broader culture and society in which we are situated.

To train wholeheartedly is to see the future as unwritten and that every moment we have the opportunity to contribute to what is unfolding. To train wholeheartedly is to recognize that our choices matter and as long as we are alive, it is never too late to cultivate compassion, kindness, and the kind of abiding love that is borne of knowing we are interconnected. As long as we are alive, it is never too late to cultivate our awakening.


This blog was originally published on Medium.

This is part of a series of posts I am doing to support my practice.

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