Building bridges

building bridges
My dear Son in law is such a radiant example of someone who builds bridges and tears down walls. A practice which I strive for personally every day. But my Son is far better at this than I am, as are a few other people in my life such as Bhante Sujatha and a handful of others.

Beyond typical dogmas, I observe myself building walls based on things like body type, foods that people eat, personalities, age, and a host of other minutia. Even my practice and my temple are prone to come under this type of scrutiny on a regular basis. It is perhaps there, in my aversion to certain aspects of the temple, that I feel confronted most powerfully. Probably because the temple has been my spiritual homestead for many years now. My place a refuge, teachings, peace, loving friendliness and Noble friends. And if there is difficulty there, then perhaps there is a problem with the foundation of my practice completely. A disturbing possibility to be sure!

Over the past years, there have been numerous times that I moved away from the temple temporarily. Usually do to personal feelings about one thing or another that led me to feeling diminished in some way. But my practice ultimately got me past that to see that these were always just mental constructs of my own making. Walls that I built based on delusion, ego and selfishness. But in fairness and kindness to myself, it was the right thing to do at that time. There certainly is no such thing as a bad Buddhist or a good Buddhist. And whether or not anyone attend a temple is highly irrelevant. This life and this path can ultimately only be walked and experienced alone.

At this time, I am currently facing another juncture about attending the temple. I am building a wall. But this time is somewhat different from the past. This time I am viewing the wall with a certain detachment and mindfulness. And perhaps what I am seeing is that attachment to the temple is no different from any other attachment. All attachments are a cause of suffering and dissatisfaction. We all make conscious and subconscious decisions about this, and how much suffering we are willing to take on for the sake these attachments.

Again, the words “this is not me, not mine, not the self” come to mind. And these words are the same reminder that I must become more aware of each time I observe a wall being constructed. Bridges instead, are built by reaching across obstacles to connect one another. And of course this must be done with peace, acceptance and a healthy dose of harmony. And if any of us find ourself in any other state, then perhaps it is best to back away until we find that rhythm once again. Understanding that so many people and places that appear in our lives are simply rafts that carry us from one place to another. No need to cling to any of them ever.