A Zen’s-Eye View: Lojong slogan 53: Don’t vacillate

Web Lead

Kuya Minogue is the resident teacher at Creston’s ZenWords Zen Centre. For more information

When you first enter a spiritual practice, you may be intrigued but wary, or you may be quickly inspired. Those who are inspired often jump in enthusiastically, read many books, take tons of classes and practice every day. But such enthusiasm tends to be superficial and short-lived, and after a while, their interest and energy begins to peter out and they have second thoughts about the whole thing. Often they forget their initial enlightening experiences and drop out.

Those who are more wary often decide to spend time checking the practice out before making a commitment. Before diving into a new spiritual practice they research different teachers and communities and read a few more books. Although they are drawn to the spiritual community, they are afraid to go too far without more understanding of what they are getting into. This approach is beneficial to a point, but can present a barrier to an essential ingredient of true spiritual practice — commitment. Whenever the wary reach the point of being ready to make a deep commitment, they hesitate, drop out and step back into the warm cocoon of their old way of life.

No matter how one enters into the practice of training the mind for spiritual purposes, the main idea is to become steady and confident. Constantly changing your mind about what you are doing drains away enthusiasm and leaves you and those around you depleted of energy. Hesitation can draw you into an undertow of self-doubt, which you then project on to the spiritual practice you are exploring. It is important to break this pattern and to develop more self-confidence and certainty in the practice, and to trust your own initial insight into its value.

When we lack confidence, we analyze too much. It is hard to make a decision because there is no end of options, alternatives, contingencies and what-ifs. Commitment is frightening because it means choosing one direction and abandoning others, but unless the spiritual seeker does so, it will be hard to make progress. Spiritual growth can feel like being a trapeze artist; we have to let go of one trapeze and fly through the air on nothing but faith that when we reach out for the second trapeze it will be there.

The point is that once you see what you need to do, go ahead and do it wholeheartedly with a willingness to ride out periods of doubt and confusion. If you make a decision to begin Zen training, stick with it so that it becomes a steady thread throughout your life. Although your circumstances are always changing, your commitment to training should be unwavering.

Today’s practice: When your enthusiasm seems to be flickering, try dropping down a layer to a more steady and fundamental stream of inspiration by recalling the insights you had when you first began your practice. By placing your experience within that stream, you can gain greater certainty in the view and practice of your chosen spiritual path.

This column is a long series of short essays exploring the meaning of the Lojong Slogans. It is inspired by the work of Judy Lief.

Kuya Minogue is the resident teacher at Creston’s ZenWords Zen Centre. For more information, she can be reached at 250-428-3390.


Just Posted

Increases in taxes, utilities lead to higher rents, businessman tells Creston Town Council

Local businessman and landlord Keith Goforth accused the Town of being unsupportive of business development.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion

I do not appreciate having someone’s opinion shoved in my face.

Let there be peace

Let us show respect and love

Holiday season means more impaired drivers are on the road

It was another slow week for Creston RCMP members, who responded to… Continue reading

Committee for an Affordable Fire Hall ready to get to work

The public will be invited to submit their written ideas for “the top ten ways to get an affordable fire hall.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

B.C. anti-hate campaigner finds Google search on his efforts redirects to porn

Text from online news article about Cran Campbell being used to link to suspect websites

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

Elkford Mayor, CAO visit Colombian town on mining mentorship

Pair travel south as part of Federal mining town liaison program

Most Read