On the up: ContemplationOn the down: Why being on a spiritual path is so difficult
You know, you always think you're alright, that it's enough to just be "a good person". To all those people who think they are their own "teachers" and that nobody can tell them what to do on the path to enlightenment except themselves - well, it's just not true!
I also used to think that nobody knows you better than yourself and you know what your limits are, what your weaknesses and strengths are, what you need to do or not do. Like I said, you always think you're alright.
But I'm finding out more and more how much of a traitor my mind is being to me and how it likes to meander and justify and explain things away to itself endlessly. So of course it's okay if you're telling yourself and believing it is. You're also okay if you want to stay at that level forever. Of course you're alright! You're doing just fine now, aren't you? But if you are in the pursuit of something more, something higher, something more beneficial and enlightening then you're not just going to want to stay right where you are. And unless you're already a Bodhisattva, you'll need someone to push you up the next level - you can't do it alone if you can't really see yourself.
Recently, Rinpoche has been pressing my buttons - you "hire" a Guru to do that, after all. You "hire" them to assasinate your ego by showing you exactly as you are - something that you can never really honestly do to yourself (not at this stage anyway). It's like how you never really know what your face actually looks like; you only ever see it reflected in a mirror or in a picture. The Guru, like the mirror, shows you all the nasty spots and the glaring zit right in the middle of your face.
Rinpoche's been catching me out on this one particular weakness - one which I'd always sort-of acknowledged but never really thought of. See, like the rest of the planet, I always thought I was okay, that I wasn't really a bad person. Rinpoche isn't saying I'm a bad person, but the endless joking about this one particular achilles heel is making me realise that well, if it's there, it has the potential to grow - and before I know it, I'll end up like those "bad people" I have great disdain for, for their ridiculous behaviour.
To everyone else, it really does just seem like a joke or another of the Guru's wild passing comments; but you know how much it actually applies to you by how much it hurts to hear it, even in jest.
Then you struggle with what seems like a never-ending conflict. You think "Am I really that bad?" and you find ways to defend your behaviour, to tell yourself that you really are okay. You think nobody knows you better than yourself. Your mind plays tricks again
Suddenly, I've been thinking a lot more about my mind and the way it reacts to things - when you're all quiet in your head and you think about the glare that comes from your Guru's direct comments you realise soon enough that it's as true as he's pointed out. The hardest part is realising that all the joking and all the pointed comments aren't just comments; that they're just the exact reflection of how you actually are... or where you're headed if you keep up that way.
The scariest thing about the whole process is also realising how you'd continue to just be that way - and get "better" at strengthening and rehabituating your little flaws - if it hadn't been pointed out to you. You see that you're not quite so alright after all - and that's the most disgusting part of the game.