This is part 45 of my series on Lojong, a Buddhist mind-training technique
This is an interesting slogan. It asks that you look at the circumstances that led to your journey into your spiritual practice (specifically into the practice of Lojong, but I think it works no matter your personal practice) and to look for what is behind you continuing on. It also asks that we remind ourselves that not everyone is practicing and do what we need to to support them finding their path as opposed to judging or criticizing.
There are three principal causes identified by this slogan. The first is the teacher – no matter where you first heard about the practice in spirituality whether it be from books, inspirational talks, or directly from someone, all have a history rooted in the beliefs and paradigms of someone. There are people behind all spiritual practices. Whether the practice is based in Buddhism or nature, someone has interpreted and made meaning of a philosophy that became a spiritual lesson. From Buddha, to Jesus to Allah, and so many more there is a teacher.
The second principal is to recognize the importance of mind-training. Again, these are Lojong slogans so it is specific, but could certainly be interpreted for other practices. Mind-training could be prayer or meditation or yoga. The point is you need to practice the path continually. As situations come up in life we need always to come back to the practice of loving, compassion, kindness and non-judgment. Continual practice means we are able to meet others where they are at all times without getting caught up in what’s considered good and bad, right and wrong.
The third principal is to have appropriate social and economic support for your practice. If ones basic needs are not being met, a spiritual practice is unlikely. There are definitely special people who can transcend hunger and extreme poverty, but for the average person food, shelter, clothing – the basic needs – must be met before a practice such as mind-training can take place.
Acharya Judy Lief asks that we look to our practice to see if we need more supports in place (the first principal), if we need more conviction (the second principal) or a more stable social or economic base (the third principal).
I think we all have those moments when our conviction waivers. It occurs to me that this often happens because of a change in our feeling of safety (we lose a relationship or a job and no longer feel secure) or because we’ve lost support. And I’ve often said it’s when we need the practice most that we lose touch with it.The times it’s easy are the training ground for when it gets hard.
My first foray into spirituality came about because of a book my mother had given me by Deepak Chopra. It was the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. I had some beliefs then, but nothing concrete and certainly nothing to do with manifestation. It opened a new world to me. I was skeptical, but wrote down intentions and then forgot about them. A while went by and I found the list and realized everything had happened. Needless to say I had a look at that book again and started to look into a whole lot of other books. That was my first teacher. My inspiration. I have had long periods where I read next to nothing of a spiritual nature, where I stopped exploring and learning , where I was not in courses related to yoga or thai massage or some kind of healing. It’s in those times, without question, that my conviction waivers. I lost touch with what supports my practice. It’s important for me to recognize that and to continually be opening my mind to learning more on this path. To keep my convictions, to continue to project peace and kindness into the world, to do my part.