So I have this vehicle, let’s call it the Dhamma bus. I am behind the wheel and headed for Nibbana. The bus contains everything I need to reach my destination, but suddenly I realize I am asleep at the wheel and have lost control.
This beautiful bus, filled with all the things I need, is completely useless if I am sleeping.
But how did this happen, when I have in fact been so excited to be on this journey?
Perhaps it’s too many hours behind the wheel, or playing with all the buttons and dials on the dashboard. Or perhaps I should have had the confidence in letting someone else drive for a while, while I simply enjoyed the view.
But I think I have been in a hurry to reach my destination. That seems to be my character, I lack a patience gene or something. When I have my sights set on a goal or destination, I do not back off until I accomplish whatever I set out to do.
In my Buddhist practice, I see that this is not mindful at all. But I’m not sure that I have learned about the journey, and how to let go of the destination yet. A life without goals, or destination, seems floundering and lazy to me.
And while some people may be content to drive for three days to reach their destination, I am the type who will drive through the night just to get there and be done.
Now is that the smartest way to travel? Probably not. But I am that personality type, one that has strong determination and is extremely goal oriented. And I think I am beginning to see that this works against me in my practice.
By having the “pedal to the metal” in my practice, I not only risk being asleep at the wheel, but can only crash the bus and hurt other people.
So what to do? Can one actually change their character?
I have heard Bhante Sujatha at times say no they can’t, and at other times say yes they can.
Perhaps that is because the real answer lies within the individual.
And I hope that by seeing the “flaw” in my character, that I may be able to mold and develop it into something that has more wisdom and acceptance.
Because I think that being drive and motivated is not a bad thing, so long as it is well seasoned with skillfulness.
Even the best race car driver knows that you need to pull in for a pit stop once in a while.
So for me, I think that I need to take this dhamma bus and pull into a motel for the night. Get some rest, check the tires, and fill up with fuel.
To me this means, I need to spend more time meditating. Because in meditation, I am not trying to get anywhere. I just am. It’s my rest and refueling station on the road of life.
I hope you will find time to do this for yourself as well.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.