Another posting on the obvious…
There is and isn’t a big difference between something that just happens – that happens to us or out of the blue, and something that comes through practice and from a thorough familiarity with the terrain.
Is and isn’t a difference
There isn’t a big difference, in that the terrain we land in may be very similar.
And yet there is a difference – in how familiar we are with the process and dynamics of getting there, in our ability to guide ourselves and others there, and in how readily accessible the terrain is to us if we are not there.
There are innumerable examples of this, from any area of life and human experience.
Acupuncture, relationships and awakening
For instance, I can go to an acupuncturist and experience a big shift and maybe even healing or more sense of spirit, passion and clarity in my life. But I don’t know the ins and outs of what is happening. I probably won’t be able to replicate it on my own. I am dependent on the practitioner and the needles. And all of those are fine. Yet, if I engage in various forms of yoga – for instance taoist yoga – I can learn the mechanics of what is happening at a finely tuned level. I can become so familiar with the terrain and how to get there that I can do it on my own. I can possibly even go further than what the acupuncturist can do for me.
I may be in a good relationship, which just happened to be that way from the beginning. And yet not (consciously) know what allows for such a relationship. Or I can be in a difficult relationship and work with and through it, allowing it to arrive at the same place as the other one – with the big difference that now I know something more about the terrain. I know something more about going from problems to ease, I know something about how to work on these issues – with myself and another person.
Or – as was the case for me – there may be an awakening coming out of the blue. I may be very familiar with the terrain of awakening, and it may correspond with the most clear and insightful descriptions and teachings from any tradition or mystic. Yet, I don’t know much about how to get there. It just happened. So there may be a fall (as again was the case for me), allowing me the opportunity to explore how it is without this awakening and how to work through it back into the awakening. I learn far more about this terrain in that way. And really, there is more freedom as there is a deeper and more thorough understanding of the dynamics of the process, of the mechanisms of samsara and how they are seen through and allowed to fall away.
Both are valuable – the given, the gift, that which comes out of the blue, and the work, the practice, the gradual familiarity with the terrain.
The given is beautiful when it happens, and it allows for a taste of what is possible.
And the practice and gradual familiarity with the terrain is beautiful as well, especially in its insights with more of the ins and outs of the process, and it ability to help oneself and others through the terrain.