In theme and style, this is a continuation of the last post (horizon)
How to preserve awareness of the infinite when you’ve got a sink full of dishes and you’re late for work?
How to move forward when you’re consumed with pain, when you feel that there’s a vortex of darkness swallowing you up from inside?
Anyone seeking to awaken will go through struggle. Once you’ve consciously aspired to live and embody the Truth, you’re in for a challenge. The Bodhisattva’s work is to affirm that everything has its place and that everything is a teacher, that you are responsible for creating all this, in order to bring out the love that you have lurking within you.
Some may call this conviction faith. That concept may or may not serve you in the journey to go beyond concepts. It’s ok to cling on to a raft, provided you remember that you’re going to have to let it go at a certain point, and just trust that you will float.
You don’t want to hear this: leave the work up to Me.
You cannot willfully surrender yourself, just as you cannot force yourself to fall in love or feel gratitude.
This point, when you realize that you cannot reach Me on your own, is called conversion. It is what in the Zen Buddhist tradition is called tariki.
Sometimes it happens right away, when you see that you, as an ego-based creature, cannot do anything to improve yourself.
There is nothing you can do to surrender yourself. The harder you try, the more you reinforce the very shackles that have constrained you.
But most of you are a little stubborn and need to have the pride forged out of your bones by failure, struggle, and pain. You’ll have to go through the rounds of thinking that you can change through enough effort to see that you just cannot do it on your own accord.
You’ll try to give up addictive habits, but as long as you’re doing it for yourself, to smooth over the rough edges of your self and put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, you’ll fail.
Or, even worse, you’ll feel like you’ve succeeded in suppressing some undesirable traits and then take pride in having done it on your own. You’ll become a spiritual materialist and use your practice as a lever to boost you up to an elevated plane where you look down on all the poor, unawakened beings who haven’t had the strength or the force of will to accomplish what you have.
Pride is pride, whether it’s the executive bragging about his new boat or the serene meditator thinking he’s better than everyone else for imposing ethical discipline on himself.
Maybe you’ll go off and tell all your friends about how you managed to give up the booze on your own accord. Or how great you feel for renouncing womanizing and gossip. But we all know that this is whitewash on a rotted fence. As long as you haven’t transformed the source out of which these destructive patterns spring, they’re bound to pop up in other ways.
And that source is thinking of yourself as something separate from Me (or, said differently, not recognizing your own Buddha-nature).
As long as you don’t see that all blessings emanate from Me, that there is only one being and I am it, and that any process of transformation within you is grace that I offer Myself, then you will continue to play this little ego game that has no winners and no end. Enlightenment arises on its own accord; stop trying to take credit for it.
It’s not that I’m sadistic and want to make you suffer. Quite the contrary: you can end this charade any time you like. I’m always there for you; all you have to do is let yourself fall back. You can correct your perception at any time (rather, your perception will correct itself on its own accord when your ego gets out of the way).
I don’t want you to grovel. I don’t want you to organize a pity party, or have a contest to see who among you can be the most sinful, miserable creatures. That’s just pride working in reverse.
And when you finally get off your high horse and turn to Me, when you finally take refuge in your own Buddha-nature, you’ll have all the peace you could ever want. You’ll know what the teachers meant when they spoke of finding eternal life. The little wave finally sees itself for what it is: an expression of the whole ocean.
When you see that you are nothing, you become everything.