Beginnings

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Perhaps it is presumptuous to consider sharing my thoughts about walking the path toward enlightenment. Barely a few steps having been taken, what meager signpost would this blog be? Holding the map in my hand, I have yet to more than peek inside the cover.

Nevertheless, there is a well of eagerness deep inside to share what I am learning, to add what little insight I can, and to offer it up to anyone meant to see it. These musings are offered out of love and compassion and a wish that others should share the joy I have received in studying the Dharma.

Contradictions?

There is much to cherish about being a beginner at anything. Yes, it is challenging. We know so little, so much is unknown, and the unknown can be disconcerting, even scary.

Being a beginner can be freeing, on the other hand. There is so much to explore, without preconception or bias. We wander where the Dharma leads us. The excitement of newness pervades.

But what if mistakes are made? What if the Dharma is misunderstood? What if…?

What harm could possibly be done, knowing so little? To paraphrase a quotation, “If knowledge of the Dharma were gunpowder, I wouldn’t have enough to blow my nose.”

Were this being kept private, it would be easy to agree that there is little harm. But blogging is not private, is it?

Agreements

No, I don’t think these are contradictions, these alternate aspects of experience. Learning to ride a bike is simultaneously frightening and exhilarating. Practicing the Dharma can feel the same way.

Think of a toddler taking her first steps. Wobbly, unconfident, but determined. Each step seems to carry the potential for calamity, a crash, tears. Isn’t your heart in your throat as you watch? And each step is an experience of joy, visibly spreading across her face in a boundless grin and twinkling eyes, audibly gurgling up as laughter. Doesn’t your heart swell with love in your chest as you watch?

Beginner-hood feels wholesome. It seems like a proper way to approach the Dharma, to approach being. It feels like something to be strived for.

Is it consistent with what the Buddha taught? Who knows? Not me, not yet anyway. Doubtless, the answer will come eventually. I mean, I’ve only taken a few steps so far. Was I expecting to have nailed it all already?

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4 responses »

  1. Welcome back. “Enlightenment” or “consciousness” is not something NEW in your life. Maybe just rediscovered as we shed away the layers of what we THINK our life is supposed to be and start living the way it was meant to be. Stepping into the fire (divorce, selling the house…risk,risk, risk) opens the heart. Truth in your life lies here. Happiness and joy blossom easily in this fertile ground.

    • YOU should be writing this blog! 🙂 I am so grateful for the mirror you hold up to my heart, my dear friend. Your friendship and insight are precious and I cherish them. Bless you.

  2. Thank you for blogging. I’m beginning sa major new path, spiritually, mentally, career. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only beginner, especially at my age, and to know that I have company on my new path. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • You are most welcome, Chris. Thank you for finding your way to this blog. It does feel good to know that you’re walking the path with others, doesn’t it? Community is, after all, one of the Three Jewels, along with the Buddha and Dharma. My most recent blog post is about the need I felt to be in community with other Buddhists. Peace be yours, Dean

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