We have the incredibly great fortune to have encountered the precious teachings of the Buddha as well as living teachers who offer us the opportunity to study those teachings and assist us in training in them. Such a situation is a source of rejoicing that fills my heart with gratitude. It doesn’t matter that the path is long and difficult; it is the journey itself that is important.
We trade one rigid, constricting way of being for another rigid, constricting way of being. And because we call the new way spiritual practice, we may tell ourselves and others that this is great, this is better, this is how and who we want to be in our practice and in our life.
We usually find our orientation exclusively among designations and objects, considering that as reality, but eventually discover that such interaction doesn’t hold the key to real realization. It is the greatest paradox, because it is the mystery itself, as if moving, dancing, projecting light through a liquid. There is nothing that we have ever known, or ever been that is other that this mystery.
Where despair feels like surrender, compassion has no quit in it. The doubting mind is also closely tied to fear, and it is a small and contracted state, but the mind of compassion is broad and clear and fearless. It imagines great things, such as clean water, and people being fed and housed, and gets to work to get them done.
People go on retreat because it enables them to have insight, and access to inner resources, of creativity, intelligence and love that they can’t reach as easily at home. This has proven itself from generation to generation, and in every culture where Buddhism has become established. When on retreat, we ‘dig a channel to the ocean’, so to speak, and then our daily practice is a matter of keeping this channel open, and drawing forth resources we all have available to use in our daily life, relationships, and social work.
It is also called: Astral sound, Dharmata Swayambhu Nada, Divine Tremoring, Eternal Sound, Inner Sound, Music of the Spheres, Primordial Sound, Sacred Sound, Shabda, Sound of Creation, Sound of Silence, also Thunder of Silence, Soundless Sound, Transcendental Sound, Unborn Sound, Unstruck Sound, and The Word of God.
When we all are more aware of these innate principles or qualities in us, we are able to benefit ourselves and others through a deeper understanding and a more cooperative, non-dualistic way of being in the world. When we isolate or separate the two, there is division, tension and competition. This duality can create anger, aggression, hatred, fear, dishonesty and many other mental and emotional disturbances.
Scientists studying memories have found that memories are a most creative affair, morphing over time and with each recalling, until they bear little resemblance to an actual event. Like everything else, memories are impermanent, making the very idea of them a bit self-oxymoronic.
Go for the highest goal, the real deal: full buddhahood in this lifetime. I’m not saying lower goals aren’t needed. The simplest meditation attainments help, of course. However, going for the highest goal opens more possibilities and yields more benefits you are probably not aware of.
One of my first questions to a teacher was about emotions. In my mistaken view, Buddhists were people who had subjugated all their conflicts, and so they lived continually in a state of equilibrium, which, for me, made them unshakable, but also somewhat insensitive. If I practiced Buddhism, would I become a person in total self-control, cold and without emotions?