The Challenges Explained (continued)
One of the greatest compliments the Teacher pays a person is to say that he or she is 'simple,' meaning open, direct, uncomplicated. In our culture we tend to respect complexity, and we use our minds to make things 'more interesting,' that is, more complex. But in meditation the intellect and complexity simply have no place. Our desire to understand, to define, to systematize and complicate just gets in the way. We have to just be simple, to accept whatever does or doesn't happen, to be content.
How do we become more simple? Through practicing acceptance, surrender, humility, benevolence, honesty, righteousness, patience and faith. The Teacher said once that it is very difficult for a complicated person to become simple. It is much easier for a simple person to become complicated. He just needs to learn to constantly ask, "Why?" Obviously, for Westerners, to become simple is an extremely complex challenge.
When we learn to accept fate and surrender our egos and intellects we learn to have more detachment in our everyday lives. This does not mean that we don't care about things, people, or our responsibilities. We still experience strong emotions and can be deeply involved in many areas. But we learn to maintain a certain perspective, to see things in context rather than merely from the narrow viewpoint of our own egos. When someone infuriates us, we still feel the rage. In addition, however, we learn to have the discipline to also view the situation impersonally, as if we were an impartial observer. We need to learn not to be attached to our emotions, while still feeling them. We may experience deep grief at the death of a loved one, but we don't define ourselves by that emotion. We can be in mourning, yet still experience great joy: For example, during the time of a birth of a child. Being in a state of grief does not exclude moments of happiness.
We must learn detachment from our past patterns of behavior. Many of us define ourselves as victims for whom everything seems to go wrong, or as scapegoats who are always hated and picked on, or as underachievers/overachievers. We must learn not to define or limit ourselves in terms of stereotypes or anything else. We must learn to detach ourselves from our own destructive habits.
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