Monday, January 31, 2005

Is This All There Is?

I was sitting next to our bath last night, with my toddler playing with his bubbles. And I was reflecting that for many years, when I first came to practice, and first had children, I used to feel very strongly that my goal in life, the goal of spiritual life, was 'somewhere else', 'something else', and not really doing stuff with my children, or other 'mundane' activities.

Being mindful, right here, right now .... surely there was more to life than this? Was this the highest goal of Buddhist practice, of life? Surely there was transcendental experiences? Mystical insight? Living on a plane vaster and deeper and more *real* than this? However much I wanted to see *this*, right here, right now, as where it was at, and truly opening to that as being a moment well lived, the best possible way to live it in that moment .... well, it was never enough.

And I was reflecting last night .... after all these years .... do I still feel something of this ... that somehow there is something much vaster to attain, somewhere else to get to? The answer was definitely 'yes'. But did that goal, that aim in life, did that actually impoverish my current existence, my living right here where I am now? Well, the answer is 'sometimes'.

Sometimes I feel a restlessness that wants to go beyond, that wishes to transcend the whole thing ... that is straining at the leash. But sometimes I feel a profound sense of gratitude, of belongingness, of wonder and beauty and opening and sheer rightness. And then all desire for more slips away.

Playing with my child, watching his pleasure as he splashed us both until all was soaked. I opened, I connected, I let go.

Is it enough?

Yes and No .... I can love more, I can understand more, I can let go more, I can help more.

But for now, I can accept that this is how it is, and this is a good place to be ... a moment ... empty, luminous .... just what it is .... on the way to other seemingly luminous moments .... equally empty ......


Sujatin said...

There's nothing like being with the family for practice. There's nothing like children for teaching us.

Zen Unbound said...

"Connecting" with your child, with your child experiencing the bath, is a sort of mind-meld that surely is the achievement you seek. If you can experience that, with out falling back to your self-interested self or practice-progression-interested self, I think that that is luminous.

The need to *appreciate* the luminousness more -- to get a high off of it -- is perhaps a distraction. It's all there in front of you already. I think you know that.

Breakthru experiences have the gloss of being NEW. To try to re-experience a breakthru takes you away from where your consciousness is now. And if you're not in 'the now' then your mind is necessarily ordinary.

At least, that is my conceptualization of the whole ball of wax, for what it's worth. Your post is great; it is the same as my struggles.

freedom said...

There is only now and will always be.
It is your restlessness to be elsewhere,
That stands in the way.
When you clean out this store of habitual mind.
The vast plane you are on will unfold.
You will be queen of all you see.
And laugh at what you used to think you had to be.

Florence said...

I was like you until a very recent time. I was trying to connect with the moment, be in harmony etc... but I always had the feeling that it was not enough, that there was something more. Then I tried with a very serious dzogchen practice, and then... it is there. Before this, I tried sutra path, Tchan path, Vajrayana path, but none of them was powerful enough to help me realizing the true natural state. The natural state is not just "feeling connected", it is the real sense of clarity/emptiness, and the full clarity cannot be developped without the thogal practice. The clarity is not just "feeling clear". When clarity develops, visions arise (like some psychedelic visions, or like visions you can find in some Van Gogh paintings), with a much deeper sense of the world. In fact they develop until omniscience (I am not speaking for me). These visions can be found in all traditions, christianity, sufism, hinduism or buddhism, because they emerge spontaneously from our natural state. It means that people who don't have them, are simply not in the natural state. Many kagyu masters are secret dzogchen practicioners. Maybe you could take a look at "The dalai lama's secret temple", a book about the 5th dalai-lama and the temple he devoted to tantra and dzogchen practices.