Faith, by Kamala Masters:
About Kamala Masters:
It has long been important for me to offer the purity of the teachings of the Buddha in a way that connects with our common sense and compassion as human beings, which allows for the natural blossoming of wisdom.
While everybody is getting settled, I just wanted to check the sound system. Can you hear me in the back? Okay? Yes.
Before I really begin, I just want to say that I’ve been up here so many times, but I still feel so nervous every time.
So, as we begin this amazing and auspicious journey together, I understand from my own experience that there can be a lot of shakiness and vulnerability about the beginning and how are we going to keep on this path? So, just speaking for myself, and I know in that way that I speak for all of us up here that we remember in our own ways hearing that wakeup bell in the morning, and I just tell the truth for me, is that, there would be many times when I would wonder, Am I going to make it through the day? You know, can I make it to that first sitting? And there would be a lot of tricks, you know, like having a few alarm clocks that would go off, because maybe the first one didn’t really wake me up, or there were times when certain retreats when I would wear these long skirts, like what I’m wearing now, a very loose blouse, and I would know that all I have to do is throw it all over my night gown, and then just kind of, you know, wash my face a little bit in the room, and do my hair a little bit like that and then just get to the hall. That was the only intention that I could have. I could muster up in the morning. And then, I would surprise myself, you know, and then be wide awake in the hall, or be falling asleep in whichever way it was. Somehow, I got over it. I looked back on the retreat and say, I made it. I really made it through. And there were a lot of times when I thought, what was I thinking anyway? You know, that… why would I even come to something like this? Maybe when I could do it at home, or you know, there would be a difficult time in my life where I would wonder, why did I come at this time? You know, when certain things that are happening in my family life or my financial life that I had to leave my… or take a leave of absence without pay and wonder how I would get through that. So more and more, I would have those experiences, but still, like many of you, you’ve been to retreats many, many times, and still, those thoughts and feelings come up. Am I right? Yes, it still come up. A lot of you have been to long retreats. And if I’m truthful with myself, I would notice that sometimes, those empty echoes would come through and they ___ like feathers going through the mind. And sometimes, they be like, really, you know, big birds that had a lot of muscle and would kind of make me feel overwhelmed.
And so then, there would be other times that I would feel shaky and vulnerable during the course of the retreat when I ___ conditions like in the retreat community would trigger or activate stuff inside of me. Or there would be a memory that would activate sadness or grief, or anger. And then I would wonder, can I get through this time? And there, of course, there’ll be a lot of delusion in the mind and I would have a feeling, this will last forever, this moment, this is like a cement walkway that’s making the path for me and it’s going to be like this the whole time in the retreat. And it isn’t. You know, you just have that moment of thinking that. Or, there would be a really wonderful time in the morning when I would be sitting and there’ll be a lot of lightness, and happiness, and joy, and I would think that this is going to last forever, too. And it wouldn’t. And like one of my friends, a ___ says, there’s nothing like a good sitting in the morning that ruins the rest of the day. And so either way, you know, we can feel vulnerable at our practice. So, there’s a lot of different degrees of feeling destabilized and ___ into a sea of vulnerability when we’re doing this amazing thing that we’re all here, participating in. Thoughts about the future come up, wondering about, you know, I would wonder, are my children going to make it without me, and of course, I’d go home and they’d be so glad I was away and not asking them to pick up the clothes all the time, you know, or wash the dishes, or I’d be lonely of course for my loved ones, and I just wanted to say those things, because I want to actually acknowledge some of the big elephants in the room and not ignore what’s really going on in our hearts and minds when we start our retreat.
So because of all of that, tonight, I want to talk about faith. And have some reflections about faith. Reflect on ___, so we can have some confidence in our innate potential for transformation. So we’re all here ___ together, because we have something in common. Not just you all, but I speak for all of us here who are your spiritual friends guiding you on the path at this time, so each of us has come to be on this path, because we have some intuitive intelligence, and actual experience that are practice will bring benefit to ourselves, and bring benefit to those around us, because we become better human beings. We may express it in different ways, of course, but we have this common yearning. Yearning in the wholesome sense. Not this wanting that’s connected with leading towards more suffering. Not all wanting leads to more suffering, but this yearning to be more peaceful within ourselves.
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