We Are More Than a Pleasing Bowl of Petunias

Part one

In meditation, we become still and aware, resting in emptiness (in Dzogchen, meditation is merely remembering the continuity of emptiness, and then meditation is dropped 😉 ).

However – and this is a big however – when studying and analysing, we don’t have to be bowls of petunias, eager to please. We need our critical ‘balls’… (a euphemism applicable to all genders!)

There is objective understanding and subjective understanding. Objective is concerned with the facts. Subjective can either be just an opinion, or an experience about those facts – how it actually feels. It’s the experience before an opinion occurs. This is where we realise that there is more to us than just trying to please.

Teachers inform and instruct, but they need feedback – genuine feedback – and not just yes men… (a euphemism applicable to all genders!) Without this feedback, teachers will not be aware of the subjective understanding of their students – and that’s why we remain in the objective arena.

Teachers need to be squeezed, in order for more concentrated juice to emerge! We come from different cultures, and so require more precise answers applicable to our needs and backgrounds. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is much we have to accept without fully understanding and therefore we find it difficult to follow up with probing questions, as we want to appear ‘good’, ‘knowing’ students. On top of that, unfortunately teachers surround themselves with certain types…you know what I mean… the inner group which we have to…revere. This causes a lot of problems in all spiritual centres.

There are two aspects to learning; one is objective, and the other, subjective. To learn, we have to have ears to hear and an open mind, and not be too critical so that we can acquire a good working basis. We can then understand our choices.

We were dissatisfied and critical of life, and that is why we began the search for a path. When offered a path to understand our life, we should be respectful and gracious. This establishes us on objective level – we get the general idea. But then, there comes a time when we have to deal with how it actually feels at a more subtle level – and here, we are dealing with the subjective. If we get bogged down with our opinions, then we haven’t understood the objective principles: once we have understood the objective we then have to deal with how it actually tastes.

Once that happens, it’s time to be critical again. For example, the instruction to visualise the blue syllable HUNG and everything will be OK needs to be explained more fully: it’s vital to know how this works instead of just accepting it (I’m still not sure whether this is a psychological tool or whether it actually has magic… I know it has a psychological effect, and there is a possibility of magic, but I am a work in progress…!)

If we do not ask for better explanations, we will merely remain as infants. It is time for modern people to grow up and stand on their own two feet, to take responsibility for their own progress. Teachers have too many students to deal with an individual in detail. We have to stand tall at some time, so why not now? Of course, we will wobble, but that’s part of the experience. If we remain merely as pretty flowers, desperately trying to please, teachers will teach accordingly. We need to take responsibility for our spiritual welfare – and the welfare of others, including the teacher.

Petunias are part of nature,
but they do not know their true nature.
Petunias can please
but they do not know their true nature

We are not petunias,
so we should not act as if we are.
We must boldly go where many have not gone before!

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