These words from Marcus' latest post seem very important this morning:
I’ll happily admit to being a beginner. I’ve tried, but cannot reach the most difficult philosophical heights of the Dharma. I’ve been to many Buddhist discussion groups where I’ve been lost at the complexity of it all. And I’m rubbish at meditation. But I look around at the good people in the temples, in Thailand and Korea, the places I know best, and see that Buddhist life is the precepts, generosity, chanting, and reliance upon the Buddha. That is enough. And difficult enough.
So faith is vital to me.
It's too easy to dispose "faith" into the nearest dumpster, feeling it's only for those "God" folks. But I think all of us, secular, religious, spiritual, or whatever - all of us need to place faith in something greater than ourselves in order to live healthy lives.
Chanting to myself silently on the bus this morning, I came to the lines about sangha in the refuges -
I take refuge in sangha. May all beings support harmony in the community, free from hindrances.
There have been times I've felt myself stuck on this line, seeing it as reinforcing excessive niceness and passivity.
However, this morning, it feels more like a calling from the world to see that even in the middle of conflicts and confusions, there is always a certain "harmony" present which is "free from hindrances."
I've felt very haunted by life lately. Not a haunting of personal, past experiences, but something bigger and less defined. I can feel it in my heart, in my breathing - what is it? This harmony perhaps, trying to break through the mud caked over it perhaps?
During a podcast with poet and spiritual writer David Whyte, he spoke of how in order to truly awaken, he feels one needs to experience an exile from one's self. I'm still sitting with that one because it feels really accurate, but kind of odd at the same time. Reminds me of a talk I had with one of my senior dharma sisters at our center. At one point she told me, "whatever all this is you're going through, you might never get any more clarity about it."
This points to, in part, I think this exiled quality - that there are some things in life that just remain mysterious no matter what we do to try to figure them out.
This post feels like that. May you not throw faith in the dumpster because sometimes, it's all you have.