Unlike most of my posts, which for the most part ramble on more than my drunken 3AM calls to my ex-wife(yes, its a joke), I wanted to take a moment to talk about the tremendous effort each and everyone of you are making. Weather you think of yourself as a Buddhist or just someone who is curious, you all have chosen to take a most difficult path to find out for yourself the way to peace, happiness, and understanding the true nature of our existence. And while we need to be careful about taking pride in ourselves or our motives, I believe it is safe to say, I bow humbly to your determination and relentless resolve.
Blind faith is easy. Enjoying the comforts of our modern lives without ever asking the much deeper and profound questions is easy. Taking someone elses answer for truth, without first examining all the evidence for yourself is easy. Many people do it and find temporary satisfaction in seeing the world in black and white and judging others from the untouchable prison of belief and ignorance. You are one of the rare beings that reject this tired path. You have refused to buy into the idea of material bliss, renouncing the notion that perhaps owning a house with a two car garage, having a steady job in a cubicle and sporting a 50' plasma TV are somehow the ingredients for an unending happiness. You have forsaken this worn human condition in pursuit of that which is seemingly unattainable; what the Buddha would have called, a true seeker.
That moment you first questioned this life and found courage to take that first step to self examination and discovery, you choose a path, which at first is both difficult and challenging. Over time, we learn to balance our lives, living in this relative world and all its daily activities and at the same time still pursue a genuine perspective and a more perfect understanding of all things. There is something that stirs within everyone of us, which we can not define nor explain, but that resonates a defiance of conventional conformity and the ill-conceived logic of past dogma. We can enjoy the comforts which our daily work provides for yet know these are only temporary and are not the answer we are seeking.
I don't think we should take pride in our practice or place ourselves above others in some righteous cause, but perhaps for a brief moment we can take stock and see how far we've come and perhaps find some encouragement to redouble our efforts and carry onward.
For all of you suffering or finding difficulties someway in your life or your practice now, perhaps this quote may help a bit.
"View all problems as challenges.~Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"
Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow.
Don't run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence.
You have a problem? Great.
More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate."
All of which brings me to one of my favorite poems.
The Road Not Taken - by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.