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!
10 thoughts on “letting go, being happy”
In the beginning we learn that the way we regard things, the way they seem to be; and of course we tend to think our point of view must be the right one;) Looking closer we find out there are lots of points of view, what – finally accepting that – doesn’t make it better, because now we get a bit lost between them all…
while our mind is babbling in the backround all the time:(
I’m just back from a two weeks course on Aryadeva’s Four Hundred Verses. (of course a too short time). There, Complete Union Tantra says,
‘As long as the being’s minds are veiled by the sorrowful and dark curtain of conception, the suffering is infinite that much long.
As long as their minds are free of it
the great happiness will not be separate from them that much long.’
Meditating on the body e.g., Lama Caroline said, we should watch our mind, because we can only let go what we’ve ‘arrested’ before. To realise emptiness we have to know about our aggregates and how to clean them. (NgalSo). And of course all theories and practices are empty in the same way as well.
hm, not easy.
But, here and there we are rewarded with some peaceful moments as you describe them so nicely…
Nice to see your writing here again. Hope you and your family are doing well.
I’m happy to read your thoughts again after a long silence.
Hi. Marcus. Happy to see your life in Japan.
No one can do perfect ‘Tree pose’, which we want to do, from the first time. Exery body have other limitations. Obstructions are not same. Even for experienced if the mind is not calm, can’t do it.
When we stop struggling, surrender in the pose, can find balance, grow like tree, you know.
Thank you Evelyn, Nathan, Will, and Nat!
Lovely to hear from you all.
Thank you so much for your comments!
And a deep bow to you each!
Oh, I’m an old hand at this kind of dissatisfaction. I guess it ultimately arises from the same source of all other dissatisfactions. Lately I’ve had a good dose of “not enough” mind – which is really just wanting things to be different than they are. A fool’s errand, if ever there was one . . . but, then, I’m pretty foolish most of the time.
Isn’t it wonderful simply to practice together with others? Some bowing, sitting, breathing and smiling goes a long way…
Sorry I didn’t respond before, I just got out of the hospital and really wasn’t sure I had anything helpful to say anyway…
I guess sometimes even stones get blown over but it’s good to know there are always others around to lift them back up again!
Thank you Barry! You’re right, it’s ‘not-enough mind’ and you’re right – what better antidote than a little practice with some good friends? Thank you so much.
And thank you Joseph! Hope all went well in the hospital (read about it on your blog) and thank you for your kind comment. Yes, even the most solid stones are nothing without support! Thank you for yours mate!
…if a group of people are scatttered in a forest, when they try to go back home they might have different experiences, one would encounter a path full of thorns, the other might have to pass a river, and yet another climb a steep hill – and all would have different view of the path home. So, I think, all the teachings have something to do with the path home and they differ greatly as they describe different paths, sometimes there are teachers that don’t really know the path and just repeat distorted direction, but in general all are ment to bring someone “home”. Some paths are longer, and some shortcuts are the most difficult to practice. What I am trying to say is that your own mind is so vast that it is hard to believe, it is like the limitless universe, it is often the fear of that vastness acts like a glue that holds the vail of ignorance over the clear blue sky. To uncover that mind that is inherent within us is very, very difficult, because of clinging to our habits and way of thinking, holding on to thoughts rather than the foundation which gives rise to everything, including those thoughts. That is why it is said to let go of everything to our foundation, basically all teachings and all religions have this in common. Like Thrangpu Rinpoche once said that people don’t believe simple instructions, so that’s why there are many different traditions with complicated rituals.
In practice, there is nobody to rely on but your own deep centre and foundation. In the beginning there might be nice temples and friendly monks, but later that might be not there anymore and all you would have for support is your own foundation, which would teach and guide you with unconditional love.
Well, this is my opinion, I hope it didn’t make anybody upset.
Wow, beautifully said and felt. With deepest gratitude for these words this morning, thank you…