Entrance ticket: being willing to appear foolish

Most spiritual practices are understandable, up to a point, from a conventional view.

We meditate to find clarity, stable attention, and peace, all of which can be enjoyable and helpful in daily life. We inquire to disentangle identification with certain beliefs and identities which limit us in daily life. We open our heart which gives a sense of intimacy with all life and helps us live with more compassion.

All of that makes sense to most people.

But beyond this are practices and motivations which do not make so much sense from a conventional view.

There is a threshold where we must be willing to appear foolish, to others and ourselves.

We start questioning the things that seem obviously true, that only crazy people would question. We move into a territory where there is apparently no stable ground. We pull the rug out from under ourselves constantly. We allow and embrace and even find appreciation for experiences that are obviously “negative”. We don’t practice anymore to find the things our personality wants, or obviously helpful in daily life. Often, the main motivation becomes to see what is really true, no matter the cost.

We inquire into a sense of a sense of I with an Other, and center and periphery, going beyond the sense of oneness and intimacy to allowing the whole sense of I with an Other to fall away. We question all beliefs and stories, removing any sense of stable ground these have created for us. We find appreciation for experiences everyone in the world agrees are awful and should be avoided at any cost (not that we seek them out, but we find appreciation for them when they are here anyway). We practice to see what is really true for us, even if what we find goes against the habitual preferences of the personality and we don’t know how it would help us in daily life (there are no guarantees anyway, although if what we find is more true for us, it will be helpful in daily life but it may not appear so as we go into it).

One thought to “Entrance ticket: being willing to appear foolish”

  1. Great stuff. I very much agree with what you’ve written here, though I don’t rule out later questioning it.

    It’s a matter of taking the leash off your brain, letting it roam and sniff around without prejudice. Just as you unleash your brain, you have to loosen your determination to appear smart or good or wise or respectable or mainstream. Allowing yourself to be foolish is integrally part of the whole leash-losing adventure.

    While you don’t become in any way dishonest, I would say you have to allow yourself to be a clear, certain unabashed fool, which is beyond any mere appearance. It’s not a recalibrating of what’s true, it’s an expansion of it. It’s learning that goodness is coating much more in the world than you imagined.

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