Spiritual practice is about being, or becoming, a different person; having a different experience of our own being. It has scarcely anything to do with what we have in terms of job, family, and so forth. This does not mean that we should reject our family in order to be spiritual, or that we should stop working and live in the jungle in order to be spiritual. Even the happiness that we may feel in the jungle will turn into unhappiness when the mosquitoes and the snakes start biting! Real happiness has to come from within, from having a greater understanding of ourselves. As our inner struggles and conflicts gradually lessen and we become more integrated, we gain a sense of peace. We will not stop having problems in life, because many problems come from the external world. However, the inner sense of integration enables us to deal with whatever arises in our life. This is the kind of thing we have to work with on the path of preparation.What kind of conviction is he talking about here? Well, that we actually can become a different person, that the meditative principles really do work - no matter what. And I think the point that he makes - that we will not stop having problems in life - is an important one. Our problems don't magically disappear but, through our spiritual practice, we develop the skills to work with them effectively.
We begin to realize where the real source of happiness lies, and this makes us keen to pursue the path. If we are not convinced, if we are not looking forward to our destination, the journey cannot take place.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Still more on happiness
A very wonderful book that we use at the Center in the Saturday morning Karma Kagyu class is The Essence of Buddhism by Traleg Kyabgon. Here's a powerful passage on happiness and spiritual practice: