Today’s advice from the heart:
Because you have received advice, whenever you are not meditating always practice in accordance with what your Spiritual Guide says. If you practice with great devotion, results will arise immediately, without your having to wait for a long time. If from your heart you practice in accordance with Dharma, both food and resources will come naturally to hand.
How timely this piece of advice is for me. I am always quietly amazed when synchronicity rises in life. This piece of advice is a bit longer than the previous ones, but it carries a full message that is very helpful to me, particularly in this moment.
The concept of the ‘spiritual guide’ may also be stated as ‘spiritual friend’, but is usually (though not always) meant to refer to one’s root lama or teacher; the person from whom one takes guidance and learning.
A spiritual guide or friend could, however, be anyone, anything, anytime, anywhere. The determining factor is whether or not one is able to receive guidance and learning from it. In many ways, this is a wonderful demonstration of just why and how Buddhism works so well for me; It relies not necessarily upon authority and investment of “faith” or “belief”, but upon a simple understanding that one can take or receive guidance and learning from all things, if one is willing to be open to them.
This piece of advice guides one to keep the information and instructions received in the front of one’s mind and held close within one’s heart, because when one manages this, one is easily and readily able to recognize and embrace beneficial things.
It also points to the reality that, when one is truly working in relation with “what is”, honoring oneself and one’s practice with consistency, and applying oneself fully and without reservation to whatever one engages in life, it is much more likely that the things one needs will more readily and naturally be found.
It makes quite a lot of sense when one thinks upon it. Being bound up with distractions or fears makes it very difficult to pay attention to ‘here and now’ and very easy to overlook things right under one’s nose…. which brings me to my own encounter and the kindness of the synchronicity I find in this piece of advice in this moment.
It is a fact of life that one cannot be beneficial if every effort or act is perceived to rest on a foundation of ulterior motive. And it is equally true that to discover such perspective in response to effort toward kindness and wish to benefit is indication that one is lacking in skillfulness (while it would certainly be more tender to the ego to blame ‘the other’, the truth is still the truth and unskillful methods are issues within, not without).
The traditions of Buddhism, as expressed in this piece of advice, are very clear as to the direction that is most helpful when one discovers that one’s efforts are unskillful or proving negative for another — it is better to do nothing than to do a thing that cannot be known to be beneficial.
Such guidance and practice is not easy for humans, and certainly not always easy for me. I have something of a history of attempting to ‘right the wrong’ and, instead, only inflaming it. It doesn’t really matter that my intentions are pristine, pure, and of right action, motivation, and thought if the outcome is negative or hurtful to another.
Over this last week, I found myself in a situation where it became increasingly obvious that my presence and efforts were simply not perceived as beneficial. That they were, in fact, perceived as limed with ulterior motive and self-interest.
Normally, historically actually, I would shred myself to pieces trying to “prove” to another that they misunderstood. Normally, this would only have precisely the opposite effect (rendering still more negativity, hurting me, hurting them, generally spoiling any possible benefit utterly).
This time, however, I managed to walk away before that script of behavior could really get off the ground. I cannot say that I completely avoided it, as there was roughly two days of interaction sliding down that slippery slope before I threw up my hands, put up the hopes, and closed the door and locked it.
Two days is far, far better than three months. Or a year. Or three years. Mind you, I am not exactly proud of that progression, as I feel as if I should manage not to have even a moment spent in such manner. But perhaps it is ok to say that trimming from three years to two days is improvement and to take some, small feeling of capability in relation to it, eh?
Which brings me back to this piece of advice, because I can honestly say that were I not actively motivated to practice, to keep my mind here, now, where it is, and to devote my spare cycles of thought (and any others I can snag and convert!) to practice, consideration, and sincere effort toward curtailing harmful tendencies in myself and neutralizing harmful scripts in relation to others.
It does become easier, even as I fully realize I’m a long, long, long way from actually being skillful. I remain convinced that trying to help and be good to others is worthwhile, but keeping that motivation in balance with being helpful and good to myself is equally important. Removing myself when I cannot be helpful and good to others is a mandate, one I am becoming more mindful of over time, albeit slowly.
I still need to learn how to manage it without anger, but I suppose it’s important to be gentle and not overload myself with more than I know I can accomplish.
All things in time, if one is devoted and strives to be consistent. That is the lesson I find in this piece of Advice from the Heart.