Practice And Concepts About Practice
I have a broad question to ask, if I may - difficult to put simply, but I'll try!
How do I stop my life and practice being cluttered with the concept of practicing??
... by which I mean, often it feels as if, instead of practice simply being a tool to explore and open up my daily life experience, it seems to become a cover over that experience, so instead of just having 'my life' which I'm exploring, I now have 'My idea of Practice' coloring or further clouding 'my life'.
In a sense, this shouldn't be a problem, because it's still simply 'my life' in the end, to be explored in an open ended fashion ... BUT, where it becomes a problem is that since 'the idea of practice' is now a part of 'my life', somehow it undermines the effectiveness of practice, since I end up with too strong a conceptual idea of practicing/ being a practioner etc. (Sorry, this is like a verbal tonguetwister!) In a sense, I'm grasping at the idea of practice somehow, rather than simply doing it.
I've generally been trying to avoid this by hanging loose to it all a bit, by trying to be a bit unselfconscious about practice ... it's there, my daily life is there. I do them both without thinking about them too much ... transparency ...
... but ironically, it's when this seems to be working the most, when this unselfconsciousness seems to yield to an opening and relaxing of my citta, that something in me leaps up and says 'See! That's your Practice that did that!!', and instantly tries to rebuild a conceptual framework of 'ideas about practice' over my daily life!!"
That is ok- it is just a thought. Treat it as any other thought – it is no better and no worse. The thought comes up and you grasp onto it and then you notice and let it be as just another thought. You don’t suddenly have to buy into the next thought which is 'what a terrible practitioner I am to have such thoughts and to grasp on to them'. That is just a thought too - so the key is not to react emotionally when you catch yourself grasping at concepts and judgements. Just be thankful you noticed! That is all really. No problem.
Does any of this make sense?? the experience is straightforward, but hard to describe!!"
It makes perfect sense – it’s a good question and it’s good you spotted this going on - it goes on for all of us. Its fine! It's the path to Awakening!
One thing I can add to that description, is that when these 'ideas of practice' are built up strongly, it causes a less open-hearted feeling, a heaviness, which detracts from my wish to practice."
So that heaviness is an immediate trigger of awareness isn’t it? You know as soon as that kicks in that there is some thought there that you have let slip in without your noticing. All you have to do is notice it and treat it as any other thought. They are all wonderful!
Does this help?
--- By Lama Shenpen Hookham