Friday, 24 September 2010

Is spiritual practice supposed to be always comfortable?

What do we achieve if we run away or reject all hardships? We need to check what an authentic spiritual path will entail. If we study and discuss interesting topics and spend some time in a caring community, enjoying having many people friendly towards us - this is comfortable. But it is not the spiritual path. We can enjoy these comforts for many years and maintain a spiritual identity for these benefits. We can provide good intelligent spiritual discussions saying correct answers and points and appear to be fully engaged.

However if we want to engage in spiritual practice from the heart, we will be at out own pace, challenging ourself. There are various topics one comes to terms with when one trains in Buddhas teachings with deep faith.

During authentic practice one gains convicion in the existance of the lower realms. We need to ask ourselves how comfortable will we be knowing that beings who we come to regard as our mothers are experiencing hell realms. We need to ask this in our heart. If we fully engage in these realizations will we not be subject to a great internal challenge?

If we say that inducing fear, throwing oneself at a teacher and becoming intensely devoted and faithful is bad religion, are we not invalidating the core of the Buddhas teaching? We would have to reject the lower realms, death meditation, refuge practice and even meditation on emptiness as this can invoke fear and desperate tugging of our teachers robes.

Other topics such as facing our fear of death are not a walk in the park. When we feel we are falling from a building in dreams we experience terror. This is our current experience when we face death. We have to change on a deep level to overcome this response. How can it be that completely reversing all our normal ways of thinking is going to be a problem free proccess? We are talking about the most radical transformation of ourselves possible.

Our normal response is to blame others when anything goes wrong. This is human nature and we all do it. So who are we going to blame when this mental transformation proccess does not go smoothly?

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