Monday, 8 November 2010

Instant gratification

Consumer culture is modeled on instant gratification. We say we want a close relationship with a spiritual mentor, but when that mentor’s guidance challenges our desires or pushes our ego’s buttons too much, we stop seeking it. At the beginning of our practice, we profess to be earnest spiritual seekers, aiming for enlightenment. But after the practice has remedied our immediate problem - the emotional fallout of a divorce, grief at the loss of a loved one, or life’s myriad setbacks - our spiritual interest fades, and we once again seek happiness in possessions, romantic relationships, technology, and career.

Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, "Shopping the Dharma"

Received as
Daily Dharma from on the 23rd of October 2010


What Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron writes is indeed very true for so many people. And at the same time it is so often true for myself, and no doubt others, in a more immediate sense even though we continue to practice diligently after "
the practice has remedied our immediate problem." When our teacher challenges us or our practice challenges us, who hasn't thought: "This isn't what I wanted for a spiritual practice"? And who hasn't been tempted after a marvellous experience of one kind or another to avoid further practice for a while to dwell on the experience and cherish it? "Best not meditate again too soon in case it turns out terrible and I forget the wonderful experience I just had!" Or the opposite: "Back to the cushion, I want some more!"

Instant gratification.

It's what so much of our current culture is about, it takes a concerted effort to turn away from it, to go against the stream. But if we want ourselves and others to be free, what choice do we have, really?

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