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Inner Wisdom April 15, 2012

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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The Dharma teacher on the retreat I recently attended said something that really struck home for me and really resonated with me. I believe she was quoting the Buddha when she said, “You are looking for beauty, truth, and goodness everywhere but inside yourself.”

As soon as she said this, I realized for me that it certainly was true as of late. I had been looking for things outside of myself for happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment. “Maybe if I just read the right book or come across the right quote, I will finally be happy. Maybe if I just find the right dharma talk. Maybe if I just rearrange my life to have the most pleasant things happen…”

I see now that this is only going down the wrong path, only feeding craving and desire in me that can never be fulfilled. I see now that to feel truly happy and content I need to come back to myself in the present moment, come home to the breath and the body, and look deeply to see whether I am fostering positivity or negativity in myself.

The sad part is that I feel that, since returning from the retreat, I am leaning more towards seeking fulfillment outside of myself again. I see desire arising in finding pleasurable experiences to make myself happy. I also feel dissatisfied with the practice in that it doesn’t give me immediate joy or happiness, so I am not exerting as much effort to stay mindful and in the present moment.

Something else that I noticed the past few months was that I was feeling more and more constricted and obligated in my practice, where I felt like I had to be doing my meditation in order to be happy. I felt that if at any point I was starting to “slip” in my meditation or things weren’t working out the way I wanted or the way they had in the past, I would be slipping backwards and losing my only route to happiness.

I spoke about this to the Dharma teacher, and she said that instead what I can do is trust in my own inner wisdom to wake up. In other words, I don’t have to make a momentous effort to practice in order to be happy, and I don’t need to add the practice as another burden that keeps me from being content.

Instead, I can trust in my own wish and desire to be happy and free, in my own ability to wake up to the true nature of reality. This is also referred to as “Buddha nature,” where each of us has within us the ability to wake up and become Buddhas.

Nevertheless, I see now that I still need to put in the effort to stay mindful every day, during the day, and to practice skillfully during my sitting meditation. I also need to make the effort to seek out the good things in my life and around me, and to cultivate positive thoughts and feelings in myself.

I had a very vivid, moving experience last week that was a perfect illustration of my inner wisdom inside of me. It was two or three days after returning home from the retreat, and I had spent a full very trying day dealing with a lot of fear that had arisen after trying to get back into my daily life and routine. I came home at the end of the day and sat down for a sitting meditation practice. After a while, all of the fear and pain and despair that I had been dealing with all day started to come up, and I had to face it head on and acknowledge it. Starting to feel quite overwhelmed and upset, I embraced it wholeheartedly with compassion and mindfulness. As soon as I did that, I saw very vividly in my mind a picture of a tiny gem inside my chest that was covered in a dark layer but had tiny streaks of light start to burst out. I saw that this was my inner wisdom trying to be free from suffering and be let out into freedom and lightness, and when I embraced my suffering with compassion, this inner wisdom shone through.

What a vivid and moving experience! I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt this, and it was so amazing and incredibly inspiring. I could put my trust and my faith in this energy and power that was inside of me, instead of seeking the answers outside of myself.

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