Getting on the Road

Ritualistic discipline: the path to spiritual enlightenment

Once, when I told my instructor that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, he looked at me for a couple of seconds and replied the light that you think you see is really a train coming toward you. This was an eye opener for me. I had always liked having my goals out in front of me. What he was telling me was that I should not focus on my goals but in staying on the path. This is best illustrated in the Zen saying “If you meet the Buddha on the road slay him.”

Practice is the most essential characteristic needed for internal development, not just haphazard practice but a strict ritualistic disciplined practice. I am reminded here of my own practice for many years when the last thoughts in my mind as I sat down for meditation were “Will I reach enlightenment this time.” I was looking forward to meeting the Buddha and embracing him, just the wrong thought to have.

Getting on the road is just as difficult as staying on the road. Expect nothing, just do your practice. Try for the same time every day, wearing clean clothing that is not restrictive, and keeping your practice area clean.

One day as I was into my practice of asanas (yogic postures) I lost track of time totally and felt as if I had entered into a place of worship. I felt as if I had been transported to the most beautiful temple. Everything here was sacred. Everything here was as it should be. I felt purified and totally comfortable with whom I was. When my practice came to an end the feeling stayed with me through the day. This experience lasted many months and I started to understand a little about how various religions came to be. This experience I was having was obviously shared by many others who experienced even deeper states of consciousness.

From the experience of these deeper states of consciousness different religions were written and taught. Quite often these writings shared the same fundamental precepts of all religions. No lying, cheating, stealing – respecting parents and realizing the sacredness of life. These values have been discovered by many people. They manifest when the heart opens and the practitioner experiences his or her true self.

This takes time and dedicated practice as I have said before.