Thursday, April 29, 2010

Part of the Program

I finally got around to listening to Paul Haller's entire talk on Practice as Process. And I am very glad I did. His way of normalizing the daily 'grind' of practice experience is most helpful for novices like me. In the back of my mind, still floats the fantasy that, if only I got my act together, and I was not so flawed, I would not have to deal so often with difficult mind states. Not so, says the teacher. The struggle is part of the program. Our responsibility is to meet the moment, no matter how challenging, with patience, kindness, curiosity, honesty, and compassion. And to not fall into the temptation to anesthetize the discomfort through going numb, or distracting ourselves. 

This is not the first time I hear this discourse. Gil Fronsdal, Jack Kornfield, Sylvia Boorstein, Sharon Salzberg, and pretty much every other teacher I have come across . . . all say the same thing. I just keep on forgetting. 


  1. The Indian system of medicine at the time of the Buddha was based on the principle of the Doctor stating, 1. The Nature of the problem; 2. The cause of the problem; 3. Whether there is a cure or not; and 4. What steps and medicine need to be taken to effect the cure.
    The Buddha used this same method in outlining the human condition of suffering (forebearance) and its cure. It's my experience that if I go to the doctor it's good idea to follow the advice given, or I can just save myself a trip.
    How do I get to carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.

  2. Thank you Helmut. And yes, of course, practice as a way of life. What really drew me into Paul Haller's talk was his way of normalizing difficult experiences, particularly emotions. Remembering this, when close to a challenging state, can become very handy. :)