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Failure and the natural path

"Open mind, natural joy" In case you missed my 90-minute program on on Sunday, 8 April, here is the mid-week reflection that announced the program. This week only, you can listen to, and donate towards, the meditation, talk and questions until 15 April through their website.

What wakes up curiousity? What opens our mind and heart? What makes us willing to rearrange our lives, if necessary, to discover for ourselves what is real?

And, then, what is our way to that discovery?

Gautam Buddha, though inspired to his search by suffering, found his way through joy. After his highly protected youth, the first sight of illness and death naturally sparked a wake-up call. In our times, the sensationalized sight of suffering may put us more in a state of alarm than in beginner's mind. Perhaps today the search may be sparked more through slowing down, a sense of belonging or beauty, or being in touch with life.

Once we get curious, how do we find a path? Gautam left everything and became a star meditation student in the techniques of his day, such as extreme breath control. Then came one of the most courageous moments of Gautam's life: he accepted failure. The techniques had not helped him on his search. He did not even know what tools to search with. He only knew what didn't work. This failure became a beginning rather than an end, when he thought: “Maybe there is another way.” May all of us have such confidence! Into his open mind came a childhood memory of profound joy and pleasure while at ease under a tree. The discovery was that joy could be a way, and that this meditative pleasure could come naturally. This joy organically deepened to the “sure heart's release” of awakening. He was afraid at first—just as we are afraid when we listen to a deep calling. His way was not through painful practices of control, but through a deeply natural state of joy. May all of us to be that willing to find and follow our own uncontrived, child-like, and organic path.

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