AND AS TO TODAY’s SIT-A-LONG … SOME QUOTES FROM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE on not falling into “SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM” …
warning about the difference between false “Heroism” in our practice, and sincere, open, hard effort …
The attitude of”heroism” is based upon the assumption that we are bad, impure, that weare not worthy, are not ready for spiritual understanding. We mustreform ourselves, be different from what we are. For instance, if weare middle class Americans, we must give up our jobs or drop out ofcollege, move out of our suburban homes, let our hair grow, perhaps trydrugs. if we are hippies, we must give up drugs, cut our hair short,throw away torn jeans. We think that we are special, heroic, that weare turning away from temptation. We become vegetarians and we becomethis and that. There are so many things to become. We think our path isspiritual because it is literally against the flow of what we used tobe, but it is merely the way of false heroism, and the only one who isheroic in this way is ego. We can carry this sort of false heroism to great extremes, getting ourselves into completely austere situations. If the teaching with which we are engaged recommends standing on our heads for twenty-four hours a day, we do it … I am not saying that foreign or disciplinary traditions are not applicable to the spiritual path. Rather, I am saying that we have the notion that there must be some kind of medicine or magic potion to help us attain the right state of mind.
So the point we come back to is that some kind of realgift or sacrifice is needed if we are to open ourselves completely.This gift may take any form. But in order for it to be meaningful, itmust entail giving up our hope of getting something in return. It doesnot matter how many titles we have, nor how many suits of exoticclothes we have worn through, nor how many philosophies, commitmentsand sacramental ceremonies we have participated in. We must give up ourambition to get something in return for our gift. That is the reallyhard way.
Have we ever experienced the process of stripping and opening and giving? That is the fundamental question. We must really surrender, give something, give something up in a very painful way. We must begin to dismantle the basic structure of the ego we have managed to create
“But how,” we might ask, “are we to conduct the examination? What method or tool are we to use?” The method that the Buddha discovered is meditation. He discovered that struggling to find answers did not work. It was only when there were gaps in his struggle that insights came to him. He began to realize that there was a sane, awake quality within him which manifested itself only in the absence of struggle. So the practice of meditation involves “letting be”. … said the Buddha, “in your meditation practice you should not impose anything too forcefully on your mind, nor should you let it wander.” That is the feeling of letting the mind –be- in a very open way. … In true meditation there is no ambition to stir up thoughts, nor is there an ambition to suppress them. They are just allowed to occur spontaneously and become an expression of basic sanity.
(Cutting through Spiritual Materialism, PP 78-81 and Introduction)