The Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn, my first teacher, spoke to us about the importance of having what he called “bone.” We intuitively understood what he meant: the inner strength that comes from having the courage to be fully present with experience as it’s unfolding.
The bones of our skeleton create the structure for all the muscles in our bodies. Without them, we would have to slither and crawl like octopuses pouring along the ocean floor. Our spine allows us to stay upright; the word ‘backbone’ is a metaphor for strength of character.
Every phase of our life requires some backbone, some strength. We can build this strength in the crucible of repeated meditation practice. It takes patience and strength to sit mindfully, calmly, amidst all the ups and downs of life. In our steady practice, and in a steadiness in our relationships, we build/grow the “bone” Zen Master Seung Sahn celebrated, a foundation of integrity and courage.
What courage and strength is your life needing now? Can you feel how you can become more steady through your meditation practice? Amidst pandemics and politics, community and family, you can be clear and steadfast. Developing bone, uprightness of body and mind, you bring gifts to all you do.