The Grand and the Squalid.
Thinking back to when I first started to discover practice I was perhaps motivated by two separate needs. Intellectual and emotional. The former was inspired by a strong desire to find a way of life that promised more than just a helter skelter existence, the latter by a need to deal with the struggle and pain of my everyday emotional state.
The intellectual position was covered by the many, many books I devoured seemingly to promise a freedom and release through enlightenment in one lifetime. This rise to a loftier plain could be achieved through hard work and dedication culminating in this grand opening, into a world that I had been promised at bible classes and by Walt Disney.
Led by hope, optimism and curiosity my emotional life continued careering from one trauma to the next and it became quite clear that this was the main impetus to continue practice. Get enlightened and make sense of all this stuff. F*** everything else. Foolishly of course I had sifted through the books and sat through hours of talks only taking what suited and ignoring the rest. This refusal to give in and accept my world, is, and remains my journey of self-discovery. But the message is difficult to accept but perhaps summed up far better by Thomas Merton who wrote ” Most people don’t seem to realize that the only way out of their suffering is to go through it.”Bless him, its a great mantra.
Today I saw two geese flying sideways in the wind. They didn’t like it either.