An observation I made in Japan last weekend.
I think most of us on spiritual paths share a secret conceit that we are going to become better.
In the course of our journey, we think we’re going to become nicer... more compassionate, more serene... more thruthful, sincere and virtuous. The process of spiritual awakening will guide us into a new and improved Being in which we act honestly and treat others better.
There is, in other words, an expectation of enrichment.
Such expectations are confounded by ideas of spiritual impoverishment, the stripping away of things: the via negativa in which we are enriched by not having, rather than by having. A dialectic arises; either way, I am subject to change, searching for it. Either I start from where I am and gain new goodness, or I begin from the same place and lose old badness.
What I dont see is that I always and forever awaken to myself from inside myself, from where I am; there is no other place I can Be.
This awakening within myself and living within myself as I am now, without any changes, requires an objectivity. It isn’t an acceptance; acceptance would imply I can choose to be myself or not be myself. This idea of acceptance of self is a pervasive element of understanding-practice; yet let’s forget about accepting myself for a moment and just see that awakening requires me to unconditionally live within myself, regardless of such attitudes. Attitudes come after Being, not before it. It’s true, attitudes are inevitable; yet to awaken within myself is a living action that begins without attitude. Attitude is one of the things I awaken to; it is not a reaction to awakening.
I awaken to myself as I am.
This isn’t an action of ease or comfort. There is no escape from here to the green, green grass of self improvement. What I am now is as sharp as a steel blade; and this experience cuts to the quick. I am not going to get better from here, because there is nowhere to go. So I can forget about improvements, forget about impoverishments.
This is it.