when does the journey begin?

This morning, i got several emails back from friends as a result of the New Year's greeting I sent out yesterday. One of them was from N'Joy Intania83. She said,

มีคำพูดนึงที่ค่อนข้างชอบมาก อาจเป็นเพราะความไร้ตัวตนและค่อนข้างสับสนในชีวิตของตัวเอง "The only journey is the journey within" ...ยังไงก็จะค้นหาลงไปในตัวเราเอง ต่อไป...แต่การเดินทางก็อาจจะมีหลงๆกันบ้าง ถูกบ้างผิดบ้าง แคบบ้าง ตื้นบ้าง..แต่ก็จะไม่ยอมแพ้เช่นกัน..

This short reflection from her reminds me something very important--which I have mentioned in the talk I gave at the Boulder Shambhala Center the other night.I talked about two kinds of spiritual journeys we could make.

One is a journey (that seems to be) leading people to happiness, fame, and success. There are a lot of people coming to study and practice the dharma in order to make this kind of journey. They want to make things work, get things together. Of course, in some levels, this kind of journey can happen and the dharma can help those people to have a certain kind of happiness and healthy reference points in their life. But, looking deeply, we would see repetitive patterns we try to seek from outside. We come back at the same problem again and again.

The other one is a journey that Joy is talking about and it might be the only real journey we can make and ever have to make. Instead of seeking happiness day by day, we look at real nature of happiness, truth of life and everything. Then, we begin to get a glimpse that life is not a personal thing anymore. We all share happiness and suffering not in a very personal level, but in a more experiential one. Then, life needs to be unfolded from a repetitive pattern of hope and fear into a journey of learning and experiencing. In that kind of journey, everything and everyone come into our life to help us grow further and open further. Our heart needs to be open up into the infinite, vast space of awareness, which is actually its endless, beginningless, primordial nature.

So, when does the journey begin? It begins long long time ago. We don't really know when exactly, but we know from this life that things are so repetitive. If we do not work with our ignorance and avoid to open our eyes and see, that loop will never go away. It's endless.

Let's life unfold--just by seeing and learning things. Let's everything and everyone challenge us, open us up further and further. Let's things falling apart and see what is left to be what we really are. It's a journey of returning to our real nature--which is all we have.