I’m afraid that much of my writing may lead my readers to believe that I am a wonderful example of a dedicated practicing Buddhist. And while I certainly hope that what I share is of some value and benefit to each of you, I am certainly no teacher. A student, an explorer, an investigator perhaps, but no teacher.
And today more than most days, I am once again reminded that this is not an easy path. Sitting on the cushion every day does not necessarily offer wisdom or enlightenment. Nor does it especially offer any peace or happiness. In fact, when done mindfully, with great focus and attention, this practice can actually create many more questions than answers. Even going so far as creating doubts about the practice itself.
At nearly thirteen years of considering myself a student of the dhamma, I find myself sometimes facing a clear lack of saddha. Saddha being the Pali word for faith, or in better terms should be defined as confidence. The last couple of days I have observed my own restlessness during my meditation practice. While outside of meditation I often observe ego and judgement overwhelming my thoughts and actions.
How frustrated I can feel after all of these years to seem so unskilful, unwholesome, and lacking the wisdom that I have practiced so diligently to obtain! And this only brings about additional feelings of remorse, sadness, disappointment and despair. But “what to do?”, as Bhante Sujatha always says.
Run away and hide from the World, or try to go live like some hermit or forest monk? That doesn’t seem viable nor attractive to me. Should I continue to wallow in these self-deprecating thoughts and emotions, and hope that somehow I magically move beyond them?
Right now I do not have the answer to these mental formations that I find myself so passionately attached to. But I do have a thought about it. And that is that perhaps this is exactly the path, and exactly the road to my own liberation via these tumultuous experiences. I suppose the reality is that I have never really gained any wisdom or growth were it not for the difficulties and struggles in my life. And aren’t all the things we value the most in this life a product of that with which we have applied the most effort and hard work to achieve?
So I will not push away these feelings right now, nor will I condemn myself for feelings of weakness or failure. This is exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment, and I cannot predict the next one.
And if you ever struggle yourself in similar ways, then I hope at least you know that you are not alone in this experience. There is no perfect, no right or wrong, simply the experience that we observe right now. And perhaps I will soon see that clinging to any of this served no purpose other than to bring about additional suffering and dissatisfaction to the self.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.