Overcoming What We Resist
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How should I put this next thought? I don’t want to be overbearing, but at the same time, what’s the point of communicating without actually communicating? I’ve been pointing out the concept of “resistance” and the fact that for most of us this is some deep-down stuff that we may not even be aware of. So, if you are reading my blogs and nodding along (or nodding out, LOL) you may have missed the point, so I will try to be clear.

Working with our involuntary reactions (since they are obvious and instantaneous), there is little problem for us to get on and stay on the same page here. However, with fully grasping the nature of resistance, it is a bit (or a lot) more difficult. Of course, we all get the general concept of resistance. We resist and do it all the time; we find ourselves resisting this, that, and the other thing. Yet, IMO, “realizing” resistance is another matter entirely. And fully realizing “resistance” means being able to turn it to our advantage and make each resistance a liberation. And for that, in my experience, more than just a conceptual grasp is required.

Dharma training is ultimately about realization and little else. We can talk and talk or read and read or listen and listen. That is no guarantee that e have experienced what we are talking about, much less realized it. Realization is two levels up from understanding in the dharma handbook, and in my life actual realization is rare enough. Yet, that could just be me, but I don’t think so. LOL.

The more advanced dharma teachings are filled with what are called “upadesha,” which word translates to something like “pith teachings,” the boiled-down essence of the major dharma texts. It is similar to reading prose or poetry. We can read prose forever and perhaps never reach a fever-enough pitch for it to become incendiary in our mind. Yet often, poetry, with fewer, but just the right, words can cause our mind to burst into flames of realization. The pith dharma teachings from Tibet often are actually poems of spiritual realization called “Dohas,” and they are indeed incendiary.

Dharma realization, at least for most of us, is rare. And there is no patch-test that we can buy at the drugstore that if it turns blue we have realization and pink if we do not. That’s one of the reasons why the Rinzai Zen practitioners have all their koans. Koans are like the questions Harrison Ford had to ask in the movie “Blade Runner” to determine if a person was a human or a replicant (android). Dharma teachers have similar tests as a way to tell if a person has actually achieved the realization called “Recognition” (Kensho in Zen) or just think they have. It often is a series of questions and answers, like a lie-detector test. I too have been asked (and answered) questions in this traditional manner.

Anyway, as mentioned, “Resistance” is much deeper and more stubborn to realize than, let’s say, our knee-jerk reactions that we can all be readily aware of. Resistance is usually embedded in our habits much more deeply, well beyond what we could call superficial awareness. We may understand it conceptually, but we still don’t get it. Mastering our resistances involves being able to turn them to our advantage and use them to enlighten ourselves. That would be an example of realization.

And, as they say, everyone wants to be in that number “when the saints coming marching in.” If you are concerned or question whether you have realized what is called “Recognition of the True Nature of the Mind,” you probably have not. It’s that simple. “Recognition” is always a “without-a-doubt” event. That, by definition, is its very nature. Imagining we have realization gets old fast and sooner than later we do “realize” that what we have (as my dharma teacher pointed out to me many times) is just another spiritual experience, and they come and they go. Realizations, however, are permanent.

So, if we find ourselves wondering, then we don’t have it and it’s better to spend our time preparing for realization rather than assuming or asserting it. And if we are defensive about this, that too is not a good sign. In that case, we probably ARE a replicant. LOL.

I can’t tell if someone has or has not recognized the true nature of the mind, so don’t ask me. I might have a guess, but as Chögyam Trungpa used to joke, “Your guess is as good as mine.” However, what I might be good for is helping those interested to work through the preliminary practices in order to get ready (properly) to recognize the actual nature of their mind. As my first dharma teacher used to say to me: “The dharma is not true because I say it; I say it because it is true.”

Hopefully, that’s what I’m doing with these blogs.
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