Create the Conditions
At first glance we might mistake this instruction Create the Conditions to represent a makeover of our house, a clean out of things in the closets and dresser drawers or a pledge to fix things up. No. It’s not like that at all. Although it is true, cleanliness is next to godliness, it is not the material conditions we need to focus on to make the spiritual climb. We can give a nod to order, and simplicity and even owning and having less but I assure you those conditions are not what we need to create.
We are encouraged to remember the path of Shakyamuni as the exemplar of what we need to do. Our struggles come to awaken us. Buddha struggled and it was in that struggle he began his search for God, the Dharma. He was a Hindu. A Prince. A father. A man saturated in a spiritual history. But he, himself, struggled. When we are able to see our struggle as a clarion, a loud and clear trumpet sound of something is amiss, we seek something to remedy it. We look within. Even if we don’t know what to do, the desire alleviate our struggle arises. We catch that wave and turn it. This turning is turning the Wheel of life and death. And it is, in fact, a matter of life and death.
Something changed Shakyamuni when he saw the suffering from his palace windows. What was it? He realized he, too, was subject to suffering. It was there he turned. He became a seeker. It is what we, each one of us, need to be. A seeker: a big, open heart seeker.
Once he saw that something was amiss he was willing to give up everything to change to it. He left his wife. His newborn son. His palace. He followed through. Found teachers. Practiced. Awakened.
It was a big makeover. A big emptying out. Each seeker, in his circumstances does a similar thing. It may start small….it may begin with some painful struggle that prompts you to seek, to hear and read the teachings. But even a small beginning of seeking requires an emptying out, a makeover of time, commitments and activities. We have to make room for contemplation much like we make room to learn anything. Something has to give, in order for the help to come.
We choose to create the conditions in our mind. Even before we learn anything, we must decide we want to learn. We must choose to want to hear and listen in order to turn and face the light. This step is a beginner’s step, but woe to those who skip it.
We take to heart the teachings. Test them out in our own way. We seek help. We study ourselves.
Here is an exercise you might try. Study what you find yourself getting involved in during the day. And pay close attention to the responses that show up inside of you as you meet the many things that come your way.
Are your responses an array of attachment; hate and fear? If yes, you know the non-self (ego) is attempting to get hold of things. Stop and ask yourself if it was the non-self (ego) that got involved in the first place.
In other words, were there strings of attachment, hate and fear tied to your involvement from the get-go? If yes, then the effects will be coming accordingly. You may feel edgy, anxious, off kilter from even the tiniest grasp of the non-self.
This cause and effect cycle will continue on and on until enlightenment….in the meantime, turn towards the Light when the effects arrive which is a sure fire way to dissipate the shadowy effects that have come. In a visual sense place your mind above, on the high bird until there is only ONE bird in the tree….which is after all is your True nature. STOP the mind reaching for or pushing away some thing you want or don’t want. All happiness is in the High bird. And the High bird does not get involved with things with strings.
Remember: What did Buddha STOP when he encountered the finger necklace thief? Buddha stopped the pleasures and pains of the non-self leaving only the flow of Light which shines on everything without discrimination.
CAUTION: If you pretend to be the High bird, trouble of all sorts will follow.
Author: FaShi Lao Yue
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