Saturday, December 19, 2009

What difference does it make?

When the Buddha described how long humanity has been on the journey, as he spoke of reincarnation he talked of a mountain six miles high, six miles long. Every hundred years a bird would fly with a silk scarf in its beak and run it over the mountain once. The length of the time it takes for the scarf to wear away the mountain is the length of time you have been on the path. If you apply that to this life, you begin to see that it is less than a blink of the eye, each birth being a moment, much like still-frame photography. With that kind of time perspective, you relax and take the chart off the wall.

Yet, at the same time, much of spiritual literature speaks of urgency.
Buddha said, "Work as hard as you can."
Kabir said:

Friend, hope for the guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive...
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you do not break the ropes while you are alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will
join with the estatic
just because the body is rotten---
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an
apartment in the city of death.
If you make love with the Divine now,
in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth,
find out who the teacher is,
Believe in the great sound!

So there was this desire to get on with it, which we interpreted as taking the entire spiritual journey and turning it into an achievement course. There is a lovely story of a boy who goes to a Zen master and says, "Master, I know you have many students, but if I study harder than all the rest of them, how long will it take me to get enlightened?" The master said, "Ten years." The boy said, "Well, if I work day and night, and double my efforts, how long will it take?" The master said, "Twenty years." Now, the boy talked of further achievement and the master said, "Thirty years." The boy replied, "Why do you keep adding years?" The master said, "Since you will have one eye on the goal, there will only be one eye left to have on work, and it will slow you down immediately."

In essence, that was the predictment we found ourselves in. We got so attached to where we were going that we had little time to deepen our practice to get there. But over the years we have grown. We have developed patience, and as a result, we have stopped counting. That in itself is great growth for Western culture. I do my spiritual practices because I do my spiritual practices; what will happen will happen. Whether I will be free and enlightened, now or in a thousand births, is of no concern to me. What difference does it make? What else do I have to do? I cannot stop anyway, so it does not make any difference to me....

{Stanislov Grof ~ Spiritual Emergency}

{Images linked/Programming by DPC}

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