Monday, January 24, 2011

narrow and wide

Sometimes people think that it is the narrowness of spiritual practice that makes it hard. It looks so austere. It squeezes the individual where s/he would prefer not to be squeezed ... no sex, maybe, or lousy food or not enough sleep or no TV or no talking or a rigorous schedule. From the outside, those who are curious can marvel or perhaps scoff.

And the narrowness can put them off -- that's not for me!

But the narrow passages of spiritual endeavor are not the hard part at all. The hard part -- the really hard part -- is not its narrow passages. It is its limitless widths. Now that is enough to scare the pee down the pope's leg. The depth of that fear can be gauged by the fact that the limitless is given names or proposed as a matter that can only be actualized after death. "Heaven," "hell," "Nirvana," "enlightenment" ... name it and tame it. Squeeze it into a book. Glorify it with soaring towers....

This ... is ... scary ... shit!

You can sort of understand why the limitless is so relentlessly limited, unremittingly narrowed. How else to conquer our fears? How else to keep control? How else to woo those in need of wooing? There are a million million reasons and meanings and buffers against what is so fearful. But eventually you've got to ask, do they work? Really -- do they work? And there is no asking someone else in order to find a peaceful answer. No one else knows. Only you know.

Talk about spooky!

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