A. Spiritual practice is always full of paradox. We must be wholehearted with total commitment, as if there were no tomorrow. And yet the fruit of such practice is to realise the everyday ordinariness of reality. As the famous Zen saying goes: How wonderful! How marvellous! I sweep leaves, I drink tea.

In order to realise what is in front of us we need to apply single-minded determination, but single-minded determination in a correct way -a Dharmic way. This ‘single-mindedness’ should really be seen in inverted commas, for it can be misunderstood as ordinary worldly, wilful effort. Dharmic effort is the middle way, and this is different and very special.

Single-minded (Dharmic) determination is applied by not reacting in our familiar karmic-producing habitual way to our everyday experiences, whether towards ourselves, others, or life in general. To, as it were, ‘stand our ground’ (emotionally) and through experience learn to create the Dharmic environment that transforms your attachments (not you), thus returning them to their original state. This requires a commitment so serious and immediate we must accept the urgency to take this task in hand NOW, as it will be the only way to prevent our head being cut off and being forever lost in the death of samsara. To apply this immediacy we have to contain and just be our ordinary everyday selves, nothing at all special. When we are this unfettered ordinariness, nothing special then the middle way is attained, awakening takes place. We will return to the profound ordinariness of this moment.