Make a concept actionable as you understand it and then find your unique way to doing it.
I had a professor in a class that was designed to open up ways to explore creativity say something similar to the above and it stuck with me. The reason I don’t remember the exact statement is because I did what she was suggesting. I looked at my understanding of her statement and then reworked it into a form I could absorb.
The way I see it, once you understand a concept the only thing left to do is to find a way to put it into practice. It’s helpful to reword some concepts to clarify the understanding. I gave a workshop on the Buddhist “Right view” and was surprised at how many people had attended four or five talks and workshops on the subject but still reported at being confused about the practical application of right view. Most of the confusion was in attempting to analyze what a right view was or wasn’t.
Right view isn’t about you seeing correctly. Or being a certain way when viewing. For me it means to simply be in attention and present when your viewing anything. It’s not about right and wrong viewing, how could it be? There is no correct way to view anything. But there is an apposite way to do anything we do. Apposite means appropriate to the circumstances. What might be a way of looking at a thing or concept may work in one circumstance but not in another. It’s why it’s so hard to pin down rules and regulations on things like being truthful. There are times to be explicitly truthful and times when I would probably lie immediately. If my friend was being pursued by someone who was going to hurt them my instinct would be to lie if the someone wanted to know where my friend was hiding. Even if they were hiding in my closet. Not telling the truthful thing would be the apposite view.
In Zen and the Tao the encouragement is to seek being present in these moments and respond to exactly what’s in front of you. Allow yourself to fall into the next action. And, oddly enough, this approach never fails me. My next action will not be judged by right or wrong, but by what fits the circumstances. That’s what so called “Right view” is, the ability to be present when viewing and allowing and accepting your next action.
For me, I find it more effective to reword things in a way I can remember them. This means to cut down on dogma and rules and regulations. It means to simplify so a concept becomes absorbed without resistance. So, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you” becomes “Be and speak kindly.” I think speaking kindly and knowing that most of us are already kind is important to the concept. You will never need to be more than you are in this moment, the only question is are you committed to being a certain way or not? The rest is simplifying and making the concept usable as a daily practice.
Take care of you my dear friends,