Monthly Dharma Quotation: On Staying With a Practice
Every month on Guru Day (10th day of the Lunar Month) we will publish an excerpt of a teaching from Rigdzin Shikpo from recent teachings he has given. This teaching is from the Path of Freedom retreat in 2018.
Say you are doing a practice, where the whole mess of concepts appears like a solid object, which is being hammered in some sense, almost as though you had a hammer which is pounding it to dust. And you may do that for quite a long time and nothing much happens. And then one day when you’ve been doing it for quite a while maybe you stop. It’s not anything wonderful. It’s just you got bored, the mind got fed up with that, you just kind of space out.
Because of the energy of practice you still have got a certain awakenedness there not in a tremendously profound sense, but a non-sleepiness. And within that, for a moment an experience arises, which is what the whole practice was meant to be about. So you know after three or four months you may have a tenth of a second of an experience, and that tenth of a second was what the three months was about.
It’s a very common mistake people make, they say “Oh wonderful, fantastic, I have had this experience so I must try to recreate it.” Then instead of doing the practice, they try to think what they did and try to make it happen again. That’s the wrong path. The right path is to forget about trying to recreate the experience, but just go back to the practice, keep doing that. And then the experience will arise again, eventually. It might be a little while before it arises again, but eventually it will.
As you begin to have these moments where what the whole practice was about begins to arise, you realise that actually the nature of the experience in itself is formless. The form you used is like a springboard that you use to project yourself into space. That is the formless aspect of the experience. What you can do then is give up the form aspect and allow yourself to rest in the formless aspect.