Reasons for practice, including becoming more fully human

 

There is a large number of reasons for practice and seeking awakening, and for each of us, which ones are in the foreground change over time, including over the very short and the longer time scales.

The typical ones are probably to escape the suffering of knots and exclusive identification with this human self, and the one on other side of the coin, which is to find a sense of coming home and quiet bliss.

And there are many other ones, such as getting another badge (sense of achievement, impressing someone, status), living up to shoulds (being a good person, doing what the traditions and teachers tells us to do), fears (escape from suffering, now and in the future), hopes (finding release, finding home), and also curiosity (what is really true, how is it all put together, who am I really), and finally, to be more fully who and what we (already) are.

At any stage in our process, it is probably helpful to explore what our current motivations are, and be honest with ourselves about it. Whatever they are is OK. Being familiar with what is here now is an important part of the process, so noticing our motivations is just a part of that.

For me, I find each of these motivations surfacing at different times, and probably many I can’t think of right now.

Sometimes, I practice to escape something. There is suffering or stress, and I know it comes from holding onto fixed views (beliefs) and resistance to experience, so I may do inquiry or be with what I am experiencing in a more heartfelt way.

More often, it is curiosity. What is really here? Who or what am I really? What is going on, how is this body-mind put together, how does it function, how does it relate to the wider world?

And if I am honest, it is even more about becoming more fully human. I have often felt like an outsider, so spiritual practice helps me allow and embrace my humanity more fully and more wholeheartedly, with all its quirks and oddities.

Practice for me is about inviting knots to untie themselves (belief-emotion-behavior conglomerates), examining beliefs to see what is already more true for me, allowing exclusive identifications to fall away, and being with experience as it is, even if it would never change.

And each of these allows me to more fully be who I am, as this human being, allowing it all, as it is. It helps me to own disowned parts. It is a way to become more familiar with more of the terrain of being a human being, alive today.

And these practices also invites what I really am to notice itself more clearly, it prepares the ground for Big Mind to notice itself, on its own time.

Embracing and discovering who I am, as this human being, and what I am, as the unmanifest inseparable from the manifest, are two sides of the same coin. Each allows for the other, and each allows a deepening into the other.

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