This can have the effect of us becoming half hearted and merely going through the motions, or it can be the result of us actually noticing more. Some wise person said, “There is no such thing as an enlightened person; only an enlightened attitude.”
Progress is noticing more, being more aware. We can, however, become a little disheartened, and even depressed about our progress. It is then that we need a boost. We have to remember that, until the moment of enlightenment, we will have hopes and fears – an ego, a me complex 🙂 In the final moment of the Buddhas ‘undoing’ – the revealing of enlightenment – he was attacked by images of demons’ arrows and sensual women.
We have moments of lucidity, but constantly fall back into the mundane, being more interested in worldly affairs than our spiritual evolution. Of course, we have to be aware of the world in which we live (very much so*), but it need not be all consuming. It is so easy to fall into the samsaric trap of obsessive enjoyment, frustration and addiction as there is so much going on around us – and everything has speeded up!
This is where we need to find the shock treatment…
We have to discover something that motivates us. Whatever it is, if it works – great. It’s something that brings us sharply into the present moment…wham! And then, rest…
Traditionally, this would be the four mind changes (the precious human birth, death and impermanence, karma and the shortcomings of samsara: search ‘The Four Mind Changes’ for more detail) but this doesn’t seem to have the same shock factor for modern day students).
Here is mine:
*It is worldly affairs themselves. The world is conspiring to make me stupid! Governments, corporations, media, religion, lamas, students, friends, relatives…the lot. It’s either that people cannot help themselves or it is intentional; monkey see monkey do. People merely repeat. There is so much herd stupidity around that it becomes a glaring signpost reading, “Not this way!” I don’t hold it against them as this is my spur, so THANKS! Again, this is the meaning of the two truths, of the two realities – the absolute in the relative.
To be honest, I have never met a lama or student I can actually talk to, without them just repeating jargon. The jargon never hit the spot, and there was never a meeting of minds – but it was precisely that which turned on the light! There was Mara in the righteous jargon: the clutter in space reminds us of space. Following an interview with a lama, I found that I felt pacified for a couple of minutes…or hours…or days…but it never lasted, and this frustration made me addicted to revisiting because it – what I needed to know – hasn’t been introduced clearly.
We need to stand on our own two feet. It may feel wobbly but at least we are feeling the wobble and strengthening our limbs and – more to the point – our clarity of perseverance.
Progress is practice and practise is progress.
Meditation is the practice, and progress is in our conduct,
which is the result of the six perfections.
This is the basis of our integrity.