Thank you for sharing, everyone
Sherab Dorje wrote:I do believe you may be grasping and identifying with this sense of inability/discouragement in order to define your self. I think that you may actually be feeding it. But hey, my opinion is based on a couple of passages you posted here at DW, so I may have completely missed the mark.
Hi, Sherab Dorje! I'm sure others have the same impression, too.
I don't want to mislead anybody.
Discouragement is a powerful gate to renunciation. The suffering felt from fruitless practice, failed desires to refine our behavior, old habits trampling vows, is a critical moment. In fact, I hope everybody experiences a moment of deep discouragement at some point.
To me, it's an indicator that the old game of success/failure, good me/bad me, and so on is wearing out its welcome. But many people, including me, often reach the gate of discouragement and don't enter. We take the appearance of failure as failure and look to other theories and practices that might bring us more pleasure and reassurance.
Dogen said, "When you let go, the dharma fills your hand." But how do you let go when the moment you open your hand, disappointment fills it? Precisely by losing faith in your own abilities. Then an alternative is possible, and you can open to the sufficiency of the Buddhadharma, the words of teachers, and the incomprehensible display of phenomena, which incidentally includes whatever neuroses or worries about a self we may have. This is being taught by all things, by all the beings we see and whose minds we often share as restless ghosts, generous devas, blank animals, and so on.
To your point specifically, if we decide that this stuff "in here" isn't reliable, but then glom onto some idea of "everything else that's better and wiser", we again have a closed hand. We let go of body/mind-self to grasp world-self. It's still seeking relief in emotional responses, in ideas prettier than the ones we have.
But at the moment of discouragement, or any deep realization of our own impermanence and unreliability, there is a wonderful opportunity.
We can begin to practice no longer from our own side, but practice as life practicing life, as "this experience here" realizing great ease and joy in manifesting with everything else. Words really do a poor job describing this.
Through the gate of discouragement and renunciation, we find motivation that includes lack of motivation, peace that includes restlessness, love that acts when we feel cold and run down, and so on.
Practice that isn't dependent on ideas of practice.
I hope that makes sense. I try my best