I was a hopeful spiritual seeker and found the exotic and colorful, Tibetan Buddhism when I was 19. I recall when I started on this Buddhist path and went to Naropa, a Buddhist inspired university, they gave me all types of warnings, saying “think twice before you embark upon this path.” They said it was powerful, transformative and even dangerous. I went over and lived in Nepal and studied with a very powerful yogic master and one of my other teachers said “well the further into it you get the more committed to it you’ll have to be.” I didn’t really pay attention or understand what he meant at the time.
I must admit I was kind of mesmerized because we have different levels and different teachings that are considered advanced and secret, and the moment I heard the word secret I had the feeling that just I had to have *all* of the teachings. 25 years later, I actually had the good fortune (or burden) of going pretty deep and collecting almost the entire wide breath of the Tibetan Buddhist Tantric path. Indeed I had now, a one way ticket to blissful enlightenment, or so I thought.
Some of the fundamental teachings say that ‘Life is Suffering’ but we could, if we meditated and implement these practices, actually find a way out of suffering. What they don’t tell you however when you come through the doors and you start meditating and having all the warm fuzzy feeling of a blessed environment and friends, is that you’re ready to embark upon a path that’s going to go deeper and overturn and break you like you’ve never known before.
The Dharma centers never really put that type of “warning” information of what’s really going happen to you on the advertising brochures. So for many years, I did simple sitting meditation and then compassion practices and then some pretty fruitional powerful yogic practices. I remember doing my preliminary practices, you have to basically throw your body to the ground hundred thousand times like a reverent squat thrust in namaste.
I would often find myself crying and I didn’t quite understand why. I think doing these practices shook up dormant grief and while it were happening, it was painful but then after the practice session, I would always feel really cleansed and bright. The Buddhist saints of old, that created these Buddhist foundational practices have…