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Side Quests on the Path

[April 2024 – Dharma Center Mindfulness Tip] 

Each of us is a distinct expression of Light. We are here to be who we are, and allow that unique creation to shine forth in this world as part of the Great Mandala. We are also this Great Mandala: infinite, endless and radiant, capable of being everything and anything. As Eternal Awareness, we know no bounds.

Yet here we are, stuffed into these tiny human bodies filtering this great expanse through the limited perception of our mind-body system. While it may be tempting to rally against the limitations of being human, it is actually a gift. Or rather, we are the gift. Or more accurately, we are the giver, the receiver, and the gift.

We each have a unique path to walk through this world. When we are on our path, there is a quiet YESNESS. No one needs to tell us; like being in love, we just know: this is IT. For most, the path is simple. It is the way we naturally live that allows Light to shine through us in a million tiny ways. Our practice of Trikaya Buddhism trains us to live on our path.

The path is rarely a straight line. There are many side quests. It may seem at times we have lost our way by becoming enamored by some exploration which takes us away from our comfortable routines. However, many times these side quests enhance our ability and appreciation for our place as a human in the Great Mandala.

My path is one of writing about and teaching Trikaya Buddhism. Even when distracted, my attention always returns to this core purpose. I also enjoy watching hockey. (If you’ve attended my classes during playoff season, there’s no doubt you have heard the hockey analogies!) While watching a game, I see the players demonstrating one-pointed concentration. The goalie, even when the players are at the other end of the rink, remains in a state of fluid attention. This reminds me of sitting in meditation. Many times, it feels like nothing is happening in meditation, so we rest in relaxed awareness. Other times there are fireworks as our being shifts through thousands of dimensions. No matter what is happening, if we or the goalie loses focus, the puck goes into the net (we become lost in thought), the game stops, and play is reset with a new face-off.

So you might say hockey is one of my many side quests. On the surface, it may appear to be a distraction from my true work. But in reality, it enhances my view of the path.

When we find ourselves on a side quest, for many the tendency is to beat ourselves up for not sticking to our strict interpretation of the path. This is an incorrect seeing. We have forgotten that Life is the real teacher. Perhaps it was showing us our options. Sometimes we have to explore an option to fully know it is not the way for us. And in that realization, we find a deeper motivation to invest in our practices and make choices that support our true path. Other times, a side quest provides a view of the Infinite that we could not have experienced any other way, enhancing our ability to embrace being the precious gift we are.

What side quests have you engaged in recently? What have they taught you about your path?

Share your journey at Dharma Center and learn the practice of Trikaya Buddhism.

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Published inBuddha Lessons / Mindfulness

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