I know some of you found yesterday’s tip difficult. One ego preservation strategy is denying the full onslaught of suffering and terror caused by the ego thought system. If we looked directly at it, we would give it up. It’s like the movie, “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In that movie, they are going deep into another man’s dream in order to plant an idea into his head. The question becomes, “How will we wake up from the dream?” The answer is to plant a ‘kick’ in the dream, something that will shock them awake.
If we looked at the full horror caused by the ego thought system, that would be our ‘kick,’ so the ego makes sure we don’t look.
In spite of any suffering we may experience, our lives aren’t bad. Our level of suffering is tolerable, which is why we put up with it. The disadvantage of that is that it doesn’t push us to desire awakening with our whole heart, our whole soul, all of our strength and all of our mind.
However, there is an advantage to our easier lives too.
If we were overly consumed with suffering, we might not have time or energy to focus on awakening, because we would be too busy trying to resolve the problems of our suffering (or too sick/weak to do anything). Our more cozy lifestyles permit the opportunity for spiritual practice, if we will take advantage of them. And as yesterday’s tip pointed out, we can be motivated by the suffering of others, if we are willing to look like Prince Siddhartha (Buddha) looked.
Most of us (if not all of us) know that we do not take full advantage of the time allotted to us for spiritual practice. Yesterday I was driving to the bank in our new AT Ride (a van donated for our Retreat House) when I heard a Christian song on the radio. The song said that a saint is someone who, “falls down and gets up, falls down and gets up, falls down and gets up.”
So, that’s what we need to do. When we notice we have slipped or forgotten our purpose (fallen down), we just begin again (get up). In this way, we awaken ourselves and the world.