It is my observation that aversion is one of the most frequent and also underestimated obstacles in the lives of many practitioners here in the West. Aversion in this context translates to pushing away, negating or suppressing, a certain aspect of normal human existence. Been there, done that – it didn’t and still doesn’t work (for me).
It is so very easy to focus only on the spiritual, amazing, and more fulfilling transcendence, isn’t it? Mantras, murtis, sacred objects, stupas, secret teachings, emptiness, special and secret instructions, ancient rituals……oh, my.
Who wants to deal with problems in everyday life, financial difficulties, the coldness of parents, lies in the business world? This is not at all spiritual!
And, even more, who wants to deal with inner emotional needs (for closeness, love, respect, warmth) and yearnings for stability, security, and acknowledgment? All of this is not spiritual, either!
Well, there is the absolute reality and there is the relative reality.
And sooner or later, in this life or the next, sincere and dedicated practitioner will be brought (by his/her own aspirations and inspirations) face to face with the relative reality of everyday life, or if we put it into other words, inner conceptions about the normal human experience. And these, after profound transformation, meditation, and awakening turn out to be non-dual with the awakened nature, dharmakaya, Mahamudra.
Aversion should not be entertained, true masters proclaim:
“…We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole.
When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.
The everyday practice of Dzogchen is just everyday life itself…”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (see the whole text on practice in everyday life here >>)
It is so easy, it seems, to withdraw from everyday life experience, basically negating the natural Reality itself.
The King of Yogis, beloved Milarepa, clearly knew this quite well, for he stated:
“My religion is not deceiving myself”.
How long can a sincere practitioner avoid or deny everyday life experience in the name of spiritual enlightenment?
Tantric master Chögyam Trungpa puts it quite interestingly:
“There’s no need to philosophize your work in order to make it spiritual. It has spiritual bearing anyway. If you regard yourself as a person on the spiritual path, then whatever you do is part of the path, an expression of the path.
Decentralization, the absence of ego, the lack of searching for happiness, and not avoiding pain — all of that brings us into the reality of dealing with things directly and thoroughly.
Dealing with things in this decentralized, egoless manner is known in the buddhist tradition as upaya, or skillful means. Without that, there is no means of discovering the inner guru, or inner teacher, as one might call it, which is the constant instruction that you begin to receive on the path.
The daily living situation becomes the teaching; it becomes a constant learning process. There’s no way of developing that sense of inner teacher if you fail to relate with daily living situations directly because without that, there’s no interchange with your world.”
– Chögyam Trungpa, see the book below.
More on the grounded spiritual progress in The Idiot Compassion >>