Hocus Pocus, where’s my focus?
The older I get, and the more exposure I have to many different people, the more that I see an increasing myriad of spiritual paths, supplements and choices that are being presented to each of us. Soul couching, Oracle readings, Shaman guidance, Gong baths, Native American smudging, Angel guides, Aromatherapy, Faith healers, and the list goes on and on.
Even meditation has become something of a catch-all phrase that is used to accomplish a variety of things in one’s life, and not necessarily what the Buddha taught.
And while I am not here to discount or criticize any of these, I do have several observations that have recently come to light for me. The first one being a common denominator which is in having a goal of some sort or other. Whether it is peace, direction, inspiration, hope, strength or courage. All seem to have a purpose to move from where one is to where one wishes to be. And is that a bad thing? I don’t think so at all.
But I do see all of them as being very different from the Buddhist practice that I observe personally.
Looking at meditation, it is clear that Buddhist mediation does not have a goal. There is no wishing or hoping or praying for anything to be other than the way it is. And this form of meditation tends to spill over naturally into how a person lives their daily life. Without expectations or desire, each day and each moment are seen with increasing clarity and acceptance. Peace is merely the maturation of living our practice. It does not arrive by asking for it mentally or spiritually, but grows innately out of understanding.
That said, I do think that a lot of people come to Buddhism in search of peace and happiness. I suppose I was a bit different from many, in that I was fascinated with the logic that I saw in the teachings. My “desire” was one of an explorer or investigator. I was interested and curious to find out what other pearls of logic and reality lie within the teachings of the Buddha. And of course here I am, thirteen years later, just touching the tip of the iceberg. So much to see, so much to understand, so much wisdom to be gained.
And it’s a journey that I have learned requires a great deal of patience. There is no shortcut to enlightenment. And I am completely at peace with that, at peace with myself. I don’t want more of anything, and in fact would be quite content with far less. I am grateful for this life, my Family, my friends, my Sangha, and especially the teachings of the Buddha (dhamma). For without his teachings, and the millions of monastics that have dedicated their lives to sharing it for thousands of years, I would not be here to share any of this with you. I would not be the well, happy and peaceful pal that I am today. :)
Am I free of suffering, all desire, ego and attachment? Certainly not yet. But like the Little Train that could, I keep chugging my way up the mountain. This is my path, my experience and what I have found to be true and wholesome and of benefit to myself. Which does not mean in any way shape or form that this should be your path. Like the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
I am only offering an option for those of you who may still be searching. Those who are looking for that magic pill that makes it all better, which of course does not exist. And perhaps often finding that the happiness and peace they found were only temporary states that led back to dissatisfaction (dukkha).
I think that perhaps once we stop searching and asking for something else, something more, we allow ourselves to find everything that is already present. Right here in front of us and within us.
With loving-friendliness, may you each be well, happy and peaceful.