Excerpts from The Heart of Zen
Spiritual teachers dance all over the place when talking about what Enlightenment is. More often than not, you get some kind of double-speak. Let's cut through the chatter.
How come even after years of practice, real wisdom and compassion still don't rule our lives? What is really directing our behavior, and why do things like lust, violence, anger, and jealousy continue to arise? Aren't we "spiritual" people? It turns out that in order to head into the the light, we have to be willing to spend some time in the dark.
On a spiritual path, the relationship to our egos may be the most challenging part. On the one hand, without a strong ego how are we going to develop the discipline to be on a spiritual path to begin with? Yet narcissism and self-centeredness, to say nothing of expectation of a spiritual "reward", are the very things that are the most in our way.
Spiritual teachers just don't seem to be able to keep their hands off their students. Sex scandals go back for as long as there have been spiritual teachers, and right into today (John Friend, Sasaki Roshi, Bikram Choudhury).
Let's cut through the bullshit, and talk about what's really going on.
Why is it that even after years of meditation practice and deep spiritual insight, people can still be reactive, petty, and driven by their emotional reactions, instead of able to choose compassionate responses?
In short, why are so-called spiritual people by and large still as narcissistic as the rest of us?
Virtually every human being has had some kind of either spontaneous connection to a higher state, or one that happened as a result of spiritual practice. Yet those experiences inevitably fade. Just what is happening here, and what can we learn from it?
Many spiritual teachers advocate things like "turning into" your feelings, or finding a deeper truth "under" them. What if it was possible to actually transform negative emotions, so that you were never again a victim to your own feelings?
A provocative excerpt from The Heart of Zen.