The Surest Way Not to Get Where You Want to Go is to Go in the Wrong Direction
Jan 30, 2015 09:35PM
By Seijaku Roshi
Authentic Spirituality has to do with the core issue of the human experience, our perpetual dissatisfaction with ourselves and with life in general. Any effort to resolve this matter will prove to be problematic but not for the reasons you may think. It has nothing to do with the long hours of seated meditation that is required for example, or the changes we will need to make in order for anything to change, or all of the many reasons our mind will come up with as to why “I can’t.” The real problem has to do with the real cause of our dissatisfaction, why we are dissatisfied.
Now the way we often attend to dissatisfaction is to come up with a cause, and usually the cause we come up with has to do with a person, place, thing, or event in our lives. In other words, “They, that, or it, did it to me” or “They, that, or it, does it for me.” What follows is an endless pursuit of either more of whatever “they, that, it” is, or a “better” version, and when all else fails a “different” “they, that, or it”. Which explains why we have so much stuff, and the “storage industry” is one of the multi-billion dollar industries in America today.
Fundamental to all Buddhist teachings is that the world of matter is an illusion—that everything we perceive as solid or real is really “energy” or “spirit”. The world we perceive as solid is first “conceived in thought”; second “manifested through intention”; finally “made real” through words and actions. In other words, “It’s all in our minds.” The entire scientific field of quantum physics rests on the ancient teachings of the Buddha and other ancestral masters. Summed up, “The object we perceive does not exist apart for the perceiver.”
So here’s a “new idea” for the “new year”: Achieve the list of New Year’s resolutions in one clean sweep. Without a clear understanding of how mind is operating from moment to moment, dissatisfaction is only compounded. This includes the “reality” of all “dharmas” or matter. It also includes the feelings and emotions we experience from moment to moment as real or solid. Understanding how the mind perceives and experiences its perception is quintessential in resolving any dissatisfaction. People who live truly spiritual lives are explorers not gatherers, inquiring into the “mystery called life”—going where all men and women fear to go—within themselves.
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Seijaku Roshi is the abbot of Jizo-an Monastery at the Pine Wind Zen Community, located at 863 McKendimen Rd., in Shamong. For more information, call 609-268-9151 or visit Jizo-an.org.