down time

every Sunday, i go to a group sitting at my friends' house (john, john, and susan). we usually sit together for an hour, do bodywork practice for another hour, and finish the session with another hour of sitting. This time, John asked me to give a short informal dharma talk to the group.

what I talked to the group was about the "down" times that we could all experience on the journey.

we might be doing a lot of spiritual practice, working closely with a great teacher, or beginning to share what we know with others. yes, we feel good. we feel inspired and our heart is filled with devotion.

then all the sudden, something happens--something that makes us feel horrible, disappointed, and upset with the whole situation. And we want to quit--we don't want to continue any further.

we feel as if the whole spirituality is full of shit and our mind is filled with doubts---doubts with ourselves, with our teacher, with the lineage, with the teachings, with the whole spiritual journey altogether. we are about to give up and turn away to live a so-called normal life--an ordinary, non-spiritual life. we want to settle down---"I'm tired", "no more journey", so to speak.

so, what are you going to do otherwise? why did you begin your spiritual practice in the first place? what do you want? what was your initial inspiration that brought you here? what do you expect from your teacher? what do you learn from hearing the teachings? what is the practice? are you doing anything? are you trying to become something other than being yourself?...

I was bomboarded with all these questions. It was so powerful. at that moment, i really had an opportunity to sneak into and look at every corner of my mind. it's almost like you are investigating your own fear, by asking these direct questions to yourself.

this down time is very important. it helps us to make our spiritual practice more pure without hopes and fears, preconception, expectation, or agenda, that we tend to carry them with us along the way. it helps clearing away the ground and brings us back

to the "don't know mind",
to the "journey withour goal",
to the "life without reference points",
or to the "immediate moment", which we all know what it is.

that's the only way our life can be real and we can be truly alive.

see, there's actually no choice if you really want to live a real life. ups and downs are part of the whole picture and it's the sign that things are still moving and your life is still unfolding beautifully.

friends, I am not going anywhere. I am not gonna become a better, more spiritual, more holy person. I am not gonna end up in the ten bhumis, sixteen dhyana states, or nibbana. it doesn't matter to me ...since I am who I am and I trust what my life offers me in every moment. i think that's truly what i want.