As I meditate on unconditional love and practice feeling it toward myself, I’m starting to almost worry about this feeling of OK-ness… it feels so nice and natural and all-encompassing
I almost feel okay with how I am! Perhaps that’s good… but then will I ever become a better person if I can feel so much compassion and acceptance toward everything, myself included? Where is the room for growth in this game?
What is the point of spiritual work beyond the realization of the perfection of reality and the cultivation of this love? Why endeavor to change your karmic trajectory with austerities or other yogic practices?
Maybe we are in this carnation because we chose to be here. Or maybe as the result of some magnificently intricate and perfect karmic system. In either case, why attempt to escape or transcend this?
I’ve run across the same problem while in a Christian-centric belief system - why do we pray? As it goes, “Thy will, not mine”… how can there be anything but absolute surrender to God?
Anyone else share these concerns, or already butt heads with this?
I remember last night (and I need to watch for the specifics), when Krishna Das talked about faith. He said practice is the only thing that will change these doubts (something like that), we are so self-focused that we can’t see any of this in the beginning, so we question. And gradually with practices we begin to touch on the love that is truly there…but then we forget again.
I guess for me, if I get in my head too much, that’s when the doubt begins…my father is suffering from a terminal illness and I’m trying to learn from Ram Dass’ example of living painfully with grace at the end of your life. My wish is to be there with him in acceptance while he faces his fears and sadness. I want that too when I die, I also want to volunteer in hospice after I retire. I feel that to prepare, my practice needs to be solid and consistent. So I’m trying to surrender to each little episode of doubt.
I appreciate you sharing your journey Zach, I don’t feel so alone in my struggles and doubts. On the lighter side I remember Jai saying he doesn’t think he has a third eye…cracks me up! He keeps it so simple and real! And his sharing of anger toward his landlord…the work seems to always present itself!
Grateful for you, Dana
I’ll have to go back and give that talk another listen, think it might help to just recontextualize this spiritual practice.
Thank you for sharing your part of this journey and what you are driving after, I can think of no nobler endeavor than training the ability to be present for others on their way out of this life… not that you need that ego-lift, but just want to say I very much respect you for that!
May you realize success and find great progress toward that goal, and here’s wishing peace and comfort for your father
What I’ve found, and I appreciate that I’m making a generalization that may not be your experience, is that striving to be better is a part of human nature. So even though I’ve started to feel okay with it all and have truly come to appreciate that there are no errors in the game, I realized that my striving to be better in any area of life is part of that perfection. It then allows me to strive without attachment to the result. So if I fail or disappoint myself or “should” all over myself, I come back to loving awareness and feel compassion and empathy. We are human. We are going to fail. We aren’t going to be as good as we want to be today, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less worthy and it doesn’t mean that we can’t be better tomorrow. That’s where I find room for growth.
So even though it can feel like our work is done (“i’ve accepted it all as perfection so why go deeper”), that’s just another ego trip that we use to go deeper and grow from.
I’ve also come to appreciate that these things come in waves. There have been times where I’ve felt the same exact way as you and felt like I got to a place where I was content to just coast. And then universe laughs at me and brings me down so that I can return to my practices in a deeper way and reacher a higher peak than before.
Ride the wave!
This conversation makes me think of just a crazy number of things… hope you’ll pardon my free association trip…
Like when in the Gita, Arjuna begged Krishna to reveal his Infinite form, and Krishna indulged him and Arjuna was like, “AAAAAHHH!” and cried out for him to just be Krishna again.
And Krishna was like, sure. We can kick this down a few notches.
I feel like there’s such immense compassion for us, every time we step off the path, or roll down the hill, or jump off the cliff - however spectacularly (or not) we forget/doubt/suffer. And we will. At least I know I will.
Then I think of the concept of purnatva, of being perfectly imperfect. There are unspeakable beauties and some serious yucks in this. Like a gorgeous mis-shapen leaf - or my tendancy to trip over my ego exactly the way I told myself I wouldn’t. (Should-ont!!)
Or that it’s as easy to fall out of enlightenment as it was to fall in… (maybe somebody knows who said that)
I’m going to share something that came out of Jackie’s lovely guided experience in our practicum this week. It made me smile at my small ‘s’ self. She began to speak, and I immediately got this visual of Hanuman:
You goaded the Sun
until he let you run backwards across the sky
beside his chariot, learning the Vedas.
You are as persistent with me.
in the forest of my discontents and inadequacies,
and pulling burr after burr
from this tiny monkey’s fur
until I am laughing, too
So much love for this beautiful sangha and all our questions, wonderings, and inspirations!