Listen to Your Spirit
Don’t follow the advice of others; rather,
learn to listen to the voice within yourself.
This quote by Dogen, the famous 13th century Zen master, is a little misleading at first. When you first read it, it seems as though Dogen is telling us not to follow the advice of others. What he is actually telling us is not to blindly follow the advice of other, but rather to listen to the advice of others, while at the same time listening to your inner spirit. It is wise to listen to the advice and opinions of others, but always think for yourself. Don’t act on the advice of others until you feel, deep in your spirit, that their advice is right.
Trust your instinct to the end,
though you can render no reason.
Trust your heart…
for it is never untrue to itself.
This is what is meant by listening to the voice within yourself. Always trust your internal voice, whether you call it your “small quiet voice,” or your intuition, it will not lead you astray if you will learn to listen to what it is trying to tell you. How do you know what it is trying to tell you? You listen. You have to spend some quiet time alone, just you and your spirit. For many this is hard to do. We are so used to having some external stimuli constantly bombarding us today that silence actually can feel awkward.
Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
This is a skill that has to be developed just like your roundhouse kick or your side kick. Can you remember when you were first beginning martial arts, how awkward some of the kicks and techniques were? Nothing that is completely new is comfortable at first. You have to practice new skills and techniques until you become comfortable with them and you develop a certain level of skill with them. The same thing goes for listening to your intuition or your spirit. As Hui Neng taught, “Look within…The secret is in you.”
The truth of a thing is the feel of it,
not the think of it.