The world is of course full of examples of what happens when we believe in thoughts. It is, after all, the current mode the vast majority of humans operate within – myself included.
I mentioned the deeksha process to a friend of mine, and happened to say the words “quick and easy”. As soon as the words came out, I realized that those words would not go over well with him. He realizes that many problems in contemporary western society comes from the desire for the quick & easy fix, and is naturally suspicious of it – although in this case in a good natured way.
But if it becomes a belief, then we are in trouble. If we believe that something quick & easy is inherently suspicious, we can too easily blind ourselves to however life shows up for us. Sometimes, what we are looking for may show up in a quick & easy way. And othertimes, it doesn’t. Or it may appear one way initially, and then another way later on.
Ideas of spiritual practice as self- or other-powered, difficult or easy, slow or quick, are just that – ideas. When believed in, they become a way for us to try to freeze that which is inherently fluid and distinct from (yet including) concepts.
Zen may appear difficult and self-powered, but it is also quite simple and the process is infused with grace. What I see as “I” take care of some parts of it, such as paying attention to the breath, and then something that is “other” works behind the scenes and allows for clarity, processing of unresolved materials, and so on.
Deeksha may appear easy and other-powered, but it also includes what I see as “I” going through quite a lot in the process. This includes – as with Zen – seeing the parade of previously hidden aspects of my human self, and whatever comes up in that process. And it also includes learning to live with/from whatever state/stage we are at, eventually also selflessness. And this is a lifelong exploration and maturing process.
Even at the level of ideas, it is rarely quite as simple as either/or.