How desperate spiritual persuasions can be.
How desperate spiritual persuasions need to be.
Desperation -- a realm of intimate intensity and fear and woe and longing.
Is it something other than desperation that leads Christianity to threaten its constituents with hell? Is it something other than desperation that leads Zen Buddhists to practice as if "your hair were on fire?"
Without desperation, spiritual persuasions become a thin and manipulative gruel, dressed in pink tutus, waving wands, and rife with hugs. Consenting to be desperate seems to be the only cure for superficiality: Once anyone steps off the desperation diving board, there is no alternative but to dive deep and diving deep is the only way that spiritual persuasions make any real or useful sense.
Maybe it's so -- desperation is the only cure for desperation.
Desperation is serious and wracking and in-your-face. It has nothing to do with molding or convincing others. It is like standing in a room without walls ... being walled in by no walls.
People are desperate not to be desperate. They are willing to work hard not to be desperate. And this hard work pays off.
As Suzuki Roshi once said of Zen Buddhist practice: "It's serious, but it's not that serious."