The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Excerpts From Farhi

It may come as a shock to find out that our personality doens't change very much through all this practice.

Regardless of how mature we are in our spiritual understanding, at any time we can experience a descent. Some people describe this as the dark night of the soul, others a crossing over, others a breakdown. I believe that the intensity of these experiences, especially when they occur well down the road of a spiritual quest, comes from our proximity to rather than our distance from our authentic self. If such experiences can be welcomed as part of one's spiritual work rather than derided and held up as proof of one's spiritual failure, a tremendous internal shift occurs.

Whether we are a beginner or a strongly established Yoga practitioner, there is little variation in the experience of hitting the edge. Even in simple physical terms, this is true. A beginner with the flexibility of an ironing board may bend forward twenty degrees, and there it is, the sensation that says, "That's it, I'm stuck." He feels a tightness, a constriction, an uncomfortable resistance in that moment. The most advanced hatha yogi trying to fold forward also hits that edge and the physical sensation is exactly the same. The beginner looks at the advanced student and believes his adept comrade is having a different and undoubtedly better experience, but in truth they are having the same experience. The only differences are the places where the experience occurs and the choice in the response. The apparent beginner can have an advanced response: listening, accepting, inquiring into the nature of this edge of resistance. The seemingly advanced practitioner can have a beginner's response: refusing, deriding, forcing or injuring. As long as we are tyrannized by an ideal of perfection we will always be at war with ourselves.

How do we know whether our path or action is our dharma? Our dharma is almost always the option we choose last because it is the most challenging.


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