19 Jun 2007 |
Posted by Lama Surya Das | 3 Comments.
I have been on book tour in Texas and the Midwest, speaking about my new book on how to be a Bodhisattva (a Buddha-to-be, wisdom warrior) at churches, synagogues and book stores. On the road I’ve been hearing a lot about “The Secret”, which is a bestseller and a movie too, which is basically about the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction, rehashing the ancient wisdom that Intention and Spirit are the most powerful forces in the world and that we can have whatever we set our minds towards. This is fine as far as it goes, I suppose, but I do think we have to actually work more skillfully and diligently to set things in motion rather than just wishing for them and affirming them as our due. Moreover, I am not so sure that getting whatever we want is the deepest form of spiritual hope and aspiration; we too often tend to be rather shortsighted and self-centered. Is it really desirable for your children to always get whatever they want? Contentment is the ultimate form of wealth and mental health.
It is relatively easy to achieve material security or even have a spiritual experience, epiphany or breakthrough; but how to develop deep and ongoing spiritual life, consciously evolve, become more integrated, self-aware, authentically wise and living, content and serene? This is what tried and true, ancient yet timeless spiritual traditions like Buddhism and yoga can help us to accomplish, through providing us with the know-how and how-to, the tools and techniques for actual transformation, inner illumination and spiritual realization.
We all want to change the world, for the better — but who is ready, willing, and able to change themselves? Change begins within. The spiritual life is an inside job; others can’t do it for us, although they can help.
It is not enough to be merely a Sunday Christian or a Saturday Jew, delightful as church-going may be; there are six and a half other days of the week to consider. To develop a well-rounded spiritual life, I myself advocate and practice six building blocks or foundational principles, to help us go deeper as well as integrate Dharma (transformative spirituality) into daily life.
1. Daily-ish explicit spiritual practice (such as meditation, yoga, chanting, prayer, tai chi)
2. Spiritual study and reflection (learning life’s lessons, including how to live and how to be authentically ourSelves)
5. Teacher practice (learning from experienced Masters and Mentors, Elders, Experts)
6. Selfless service and compassion in action (volunteerism, charity work, etc.)
Buddha is as Buddha Does. When you become truly You, buddha becomes Buddha. Life becomes a new LIFE, life renewed– we are spiritually reborn–and this truly is the best of all possible worlds. Then every day is a good and blessed day.
What we seek, we are. Look deeper; it is all within. Don’t overlook it, just because it is too close or it seems to good to be true.
Do you want to know the secret of spiritual seeking, of the infinite journey? Being here while getting There, every single step of the way.
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