There are times when I have more (impossible) questions and complaints than answers. Times I struggle so hard to reconcile all the theories and practices of all the different traditions I’m familiar with that I feel frustrated and quite angry.
And sometimes this bubbles over. Like a child raging in the supermarket, I pick fault, stamp my feet, and bewail the fact that there is no perfect philosophy, no perfect community, crying out in pain that I don’t know what I’m doing!
Thankfully, my friends respond. Carl, Young, Joe. “About the philosophical questions you raised, I wouldn’t worry too much”, Chong Go Sunim wrote. “They are all just skillful means aimed at untying the knots some people get stuck in…. so if they don’t click with you, it’s not a problem.”
Young, from the Bangkok Hanmaum group, wrote about how the experiences and insights we have and the words we use to describe them are two quite different things – and of course she’s right; all my confusion last week came from getting tangled up in words rather than simply relying on the practice.
The funny thing is, the trick to overcoming all this, the practice itself, is really very simple – the trick of letting go! Funny how I so often forget it, am still a complete beginner, prefering most of the time instead to live out never-ending intellectual and conceptual dramas.
The other trick is even simper (but boils down to the same thing) – to just do what makes you happy (combined with awareness of course!) … or, as Chong Go Sunim put it the other day, what makes you feel alive! I know that if I just let go and do what makes me fully alive, life is much simpler and better.
Today I practiced, and in the afternoon we went to a temple. The hall was empty and we bowed and sat, wandered around a little, talked to a monk, got some calligraphy done, then joined the service – just me and Ikumi and a single monk in a huge tatami shrine room with open windows, trees and sky.
Gorgeous, just gorgeous. No thinking, no worrying, no trying to work it all out – just letting go, just happiness!