Heightened Neurosis

Dear Sangha,
Last week was the four-hour, so instead of saying something about the week’s reading, here is a short piece from Pema Chodron I thought you might find interesting:

download“We might assume that as we train in bodhichitta, our habitual patterns will start to unwind–that day by day, month by month, we’ll be more open-minded, more flexible, more of a warrior. But what actually happens with ongoing practice is that our patterns intensify. In Vadjrayana Buddhism, this is called “heightened neurosis.” It is not something we do on purpose. It just happens. We catch the scent of groundlessness, and despite our wishes to remain steady, open, and flexible, we hold on tight in very habitual ways.

download-1This has been the experience of everyone who ever set out on the path of awakening. All those smiling enlightened people you see in pictures or in person had to go through the process of encountering their full-blown neurosis, their methods of looking for ground. When we start to interrupt our ordinary ways of calling ourselves names and patting ourselves on the back, we are doing something extremely brave. Slowly we edge toward the open state, but let’s face it, we are moving toward a place of no handholds, no footholds, no mindholds.”

Next Sunday we’ll be back to our regular sitting. Join us if you can. It’s a chance to sit with supporting people sitting around us, and a chance to talk about our practice with others who are also finding their way.