“It is not good to run away from life. That is cowardice. A person who runs away from life is not fit to be a spiritual seeker. That is why Krishna did not let Arjuna run away from the battlefield. Life is a battle. It is not something to be avoided. Furthermore, you cannot avoid it. What will you do to avoid it? You may run to the Himalayas, or to a forest, or to an Ashram in order to escape from life. But life will follow you there as well. Just as you cannot run away from death, you cannot run away from life. Wherever you go, death follows. Wherever you go, life also follows. You cannot avoid either; you can only transcend them.”
"Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but where they can still liberate themselves ~ liberate themselves from themselves, in fact. In truth, this is impossible. We cannot do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts. We have to see that. That is the foundation of warriorship and the basis of conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it."
-- Trungpa Rinpoche
I saw a clip of comedian George Carlin who asserts that within 8 seconds we can normally figure out whether someone is stupid. But then, it takes about the same time to realize that someone is in fact fairly intelligent, but is just full of it. The third group then is neither stupid nor full of it, but really crazy!
I am a big believer of jumping into life’s messiness. That’s the only way how we can figure out what we are truly are all about. How easy it is to share good sounding memes on FB, or lecture others and feel enlightened. Yet, when life throws problems at us, that’s when we realize what we truly are all about.
Ram Dass once said, ‘so you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a weekend with your old folks’. How true! You know what, it is ok to be out of balance, deluded, and sometimes even full of it. As long as we are mindful of who we think we are we have a shot at realizing who we truly are.
There is a time when childhood should be passed and gone forever. Seek not to retain the toys of children. Put them away, for you have need of them no more.
(A Course in Miracles)
I remember a time as a boy when I was lying in bed with toy guns and played Cowboys and Indians in my imagination. I remember vividly thinking, ‘hey, aren’t you too old playing with this stuff?’, but then I shrugged my shoulders and concluded that it is fun, so I continued anyway. Sure enough, the boy grew up but the fantasies would mature with me, professional and career aspirations, the more steamy fantasies, wishing that problems I was facing would go away, and so forth.
A spiritual path often starts when life differs from what we expect. Pain has an amazing wake-up function. I met countless spiritual travelers who started their journey because one fine day they fell to the ground screaming, ‘there must be another way!’ Sadly, for many of us that is the only time when we start recognizing that a different world is waiting for us. Perhaps that’s the reason why Yoshua reminded us that ‘those who are last shall be the first and those who are first shall be the last.’
Along the Way there are no fantasies of any kind. I have been a mind-driven person all my life and I can tell you that ‘thoughts’ cease along the Way. Thinking stops and gets replaced by insights. Images pop up with a message for us. Sometimes they tell us what to do, sometimes they explain a spiritual function to us, and sometimes they make explicit to us why the craving of the ego is not worth our while. In short, all thinking about the future stops unless it is a spiritual Vision of sorts, alerting us of the things to come.
If you find yourself wishing for something that you think you don’t yet have, go after it. Trust life. Either it will get you there or show you a manifestation even more worth your while. One day you see only the Holy Now and nothing but.
Let truth be what it is. Let it encompass every situation and bring you peace.
(A Course in Miracles)
Positive thinking is an affront to the Zen discipline. Life is as it is, a Zen practitioner would say, not as we wish it to be. And it is our mission to discover the perfect imperfection in life itself.
Positive thinking is an affront to science, even though researchers of the mind will have to admit that, occasionally, a positive attitude begets positive results, just as a negative mindset can become self-fulfilling as well.
What’s going on then? How can we make sense of all this? There is a GOD-minded path; every action, thought and feeling is grasped as an expression of the WAY. The WAY is beyond good or bad. It is a journey with GOD.
Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice. Better than knowledge is meditation. But better still is surrender of attachment to results because there follows immediate peace.
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)
Meditation beats spiritual knowledge. Few will be surprised to hear that given that GOD is beyond our limited mind. Yet, how about the Blue Lord’s assertion that self-less acting beats meditation?
Many paths lead to Rome, they say, which in our case translates into HOME. Let’s practice whatever comes naturally to us, and let’s not lose sleep if some of our Soul sibling reach HOME a little more efficiently.
I follow the WAY. I experience GOD permeating everything and everyone every single day. Being becomes the objective of living, not some drive to get something. Knowledge and meditation are by-products of following the WAY.
Don’t be his friend,
you know you’re gonna
wake up in his bed in the morning.
And if you’re under him,
you ain’t getting over him.
(New Rules, Dua Lipa)
Do we cheat if we have a sexual fantasy with someone other than our life partner? Do we we cheat if we watch porn? Having a steamy thought vanishes soon enough, while the lustful impact of a pornographic movie lingers longer. The sexual relationship then—even if it is a one night stand—entangles us for years. Let what may have happened in the past be, but apply Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’ for today. A spiritual path is about about cutting cords that stand in the way of true love.
This human being is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness. Some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house, still treat each guest honorably. He may be cleaning you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at your door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a Guide from Beyond.
(Rumi, The Guest House)
In the olden days when I was introduced to the Way, I received messages from songs that magically popped up on the radio just when I was ready for a new set of spiritual instructions. There were so many uplifting messages, but there were also some darker tones; the reminders that I had yet again abused my loved ones, and that I needed to apologize instead of fuming with anger. In particular there was one Cassandra song that predicted my dark night of the Soul episodes with mathematical precision. There was nothing I could do about it; the wheels of karma were simply turning merciless. I still hear the Cassandra song occasionally but all fear or dread has left me when it plays on the radio. As Rumi expressed so beautifully in his Guest House poem, I have discovered in the meantime that in order to manifest sunshine and blue skies, we also have to welcome the heavy rain. Today, rain or shine, I welcome all seasons.