“Buddha used one word to describe suffering: fear.
Suffering is fear. Fear has many aspects: frustration, separation, attachment, death, and hope. All of these are expressions of fear. Fundamentally, our fear appears in two different guises: First, there is the fear of losing something that we value. Such as our precious human birth or a precious teacher or jewelry. Because we cling to these things, attachment arises, as do fear and hope. Second, fear arises when we get something we do not want…
Spirituality is the observation of confusion. In other words, we turn within, in order to identify the causes and conditions that give rise to suffering. Suffering is the acknowledgement of a gulf between the way things are and our ideas about how things should and shouldn’t be. Our views on the way things should and shouldn’t be, are little more than fear and expectation. We create expectations as a way of suggesting to our environment, “Why don’t you do it this way.” But it is important to identify the motivation that set this suggestion in motion. If we look closer, we will see that we want things to go a certain way, because we are terrified of them going the opposite way. There is some experience in our past that is unsettling to us, and an habitual mode of operation has begun to revolve around these painful memories. This prevents us from fully experiencing the present moment, because we get caught up in trying to avoid the past.
So, basically the spiritual path begins with suffering, then, works with suffering. It undoes the network of dissatisfaction in order to get back to our pervasive sense of insecurity. Then, in a moment of clarity, insight shatters the foundation of insecurity, as it moves beyond the fragmented world view of the conceptualized-formed mind, and into the experience complete awareness. We discover that we are not some limited-pathetic idea, but all encompassing awareness—not a spectator that generates commentary on experience, but the experience of experience itself! With this realization, neediness vanishes, as it is revealed that we are whole or complete—in need of nothing. It is discovered that the institution of insecurity was built upon a misunderstanding. Our fears no longer have a leg to stand on.
It is of the utmost importance to note, that suffering and confusion are the fuel for this journey. So, there is no point in hiding our short comings, apprehensions, anxieties, etc. The most compassionate thing you can do for yourself, or anyone else for that matter, is to identify these insecurities and let them breathe!
What are we searching for on the spiritual path? Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche explains.
Elephant 365 is an example of Elephant Journal’s commitment to the Mindful Life. Everyday we will offer a new reading regarding meditation practice and the spiritual path, all infused with a fresh perspective on traditional spirituality. If you would like to follow Elephant 365 on FaceBook click here and become a fan of Elephant Meditation by clicking the “Like” tab at the top of the page.