When You Fall Down, Get Up!
We all fall down. It is the human condition. We make mistakes. We get hurt. We hurt others. We are not alone in this falling down business.
When you fall down, get up.
Getting Up is the Way of meeting trouble.
When you have fallen down, get up! Get going. If you need help, get help.
Asking for help is part of the journey.
Help is all around, there is plenty of help. Teachings, teachers, spiritual practices of all kinds. It is right there where you are.
You must be willing to know when you need help and seek it. Why do I say willing? Well, there are those of us who are too proud or too angry, making them unwilling to seek help.
So – when you fall down and can’t get up, you are looking for help in the wrong places. Most likely you repeat a pattern of getting help from your habits. As long as you don’t try something new or different – you will continue to rely on your pattern of habits thinking it will be different.
Our old habits offer a sense of comfort and we, as sentient beings, seek comfort – but it is a comfort that blocks us from liberation. Pleasure and comfort as refuge are hindrances.
Addictions, our go-to habits, are rooted in pleasure and comfort – giving us a false sense of refuge.
Why do we seek refuge in our habits?
We seek refuge in our old habits because we are disciples of our old habits – whatever the habit might be. We pray at the altar of our habits – we bow to the habit – we bring our faith and hope to the habit that it will give us relief.
Our patterned, behavioral tendencies are comfortable and give us a tiny bit of pleasure; making us disciples of pleasure and comfort.
You don’t need to believe me. I encourage you to find out for yourself. Right where you are. In the situation you are in – you, like most of humanity, rely on your habits to get you through the night – and those habits are usually addictions of some sort. Taking refuge in these habits block spiritual awakening. And worse – they make us spiritually feeble.
All you have to do is study one incident when you get upset. Study what you seek when you are upset. Study how you respond. In this self-study, if you are not a spiritual adept, or a spiritual disciple, you will find yourself seeking refuge in a familiar habit. To name just a few favorites: reactive anger, impatience followed by eating, anxiety followed by smoking, drinking, talking, calling someone, walking, running, ruminating, sleeping, complaining —on and on the list goes.
What is your refuge when you lose it? Get anxious? Angry? Hurt? Insulted? Wounded? Lonely? Loss? Frustrated? Thwarted? Blocked?
There’s plenty of opportunity to practice.
Take just one incident and watch how you react to something that upsets you – and you will find one habitual pattern that you count on. When you get an upsetting phone call, do you call a friend and start complaining? Judging? Criticizing? You do something. What do you do?
Once you see the pattern, you have found what you are devoted to. I suggest you write it down. Make a little idol of it as a way of seeing what you are attached to doing when life gets tough.
Now the quick way – the most direct way – is to drop those foolish behaviors once and for all and sign over your life to discipleship to your True Self – to THAT which was never born and will never die. Trust THAT – THAT which is you. The Self that was never born and will never die.
For many of us – THAT remains hidden – is puzzling and even unimaginable. SO, if you find yourself in this spot, keep reading.
If you are not able to go the direct way – or you are uncertain of the direct way – pray to find a teacher to help you. Find someone or teachings that speak to THAT and study yourself in the Light of THAT source. Use the teachings as a mirror of the Buddha-Self. Look into the mirror and follow the instructions of God, of the Buddha-Self of THAT which is Unborn, Undying. THAT is the real refuge.
BUT – remember – if you are lucky enough to find a teacher or teachings – you must be willing to sign up as a disciple. Signing up as a disciple does not mean to sign up for slavery to a teacher or teachings– but to sign up to be a disciple of discipline. Disciplines to get free from the ego; to let go of the ego until it dies. It is to stop following the habits of the ego-self, to stop looking into the mirror of the ego-self and turn inward to look at the unborn, undying True Self.
It doesn’t mean you give away your will – it means signing up to discipline your will.
If you can’t get up, won’t get up because of a feeble state then you must face the fact you are not yet a disciple of – the True Master. And that your master is your habit patterns of the ego.
Read any reliable spiritual story. The Master listens, hears the feebleness offers a teaching of discipline to countermand the feebleness.
Yes, yes you will fall down, and you may not feel like getting up, and you may even present arguments that sound rational why you won’t get up, but please remember the practice is to GET UP!
Don’t make excuses. Or rationalize. Or judge. Or criticize. Or seek compassion, (a divine attribute) no! Or seek comfort. Or go after pleasure.
Don’t distract yourself. Meet it. Change it. Get up!
If you need help, get up and get help.
Author: FaShi Lao Yue
Image credits: Fly, 2019
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