5 Dec
Posted in: Practice, Talks
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Let It Be A Mystery

I listened to an excellent talk the other night by Winnie Nazarko given during the 3-month retreat that’s finishing up right now at IMS. The talk is called Second Guessing the Universe, and in it she discusses the problem of delusion — basically, that we don’t know when we’re deluded because, well, that’s the nature of delusion: we think we know, but we don’t.

As this relates to our “progress” in the practice, this means that we can’t know “how far along” we are on the path — what kinds of insights/experiences we should be having — because it’s impossible to know the twists and turns of the path until we’ve actually walked it through to the end.

We can know that we are on the path. And we can look back and see, over the long run, that we are experiencing (and causing) much less suffering than in the past. But as to how “close” we are to the “end” (to some kind of “breakthrough” or “enlightenment”)….we can’t know that because at this point we don’t — we can’t — really understand the unfolding of the path.

We can know the direction we’re heading — toward less suffering. But we can’t really know exactly where we “are” in terms of “progress,” because the fruit of the path is not something that can be described in words or concepts. It can be pointed to, but ultimately it’s beyond explanation…it’s something that has to be experienced.

Like the taste of a mango. You can hear/read/think about it all you want, but until you actually take a bite — you can’t know the taste.

So: Let the path be a mystery. Keep practicing. Keep noticing whether  or not — over the long run — there is less suffering in our lives. Stay attentive. Respond, as necessary. Relax. And let the path unfold in its own way.


image: Scherzo di Follia (Game of Madness), by Pierre-Louis Pierson

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