“What are you holding onto for dear life?” Khandro-la asked us during our first Shiwa Lamsab practice following transmission.
As our Retreat ended last night, I listened to everyone’s beautiful and heart-felt comments about their Retreat experience. I was touched and inspired and, I can’t deny it, a bit envious. I thought, “Am I the only one?”
No doubt, for me during Retreat, there are moments of light, fertile richness, abundance, possibility, utter devotion, and appreciation. But also, I find that Retreats have a tendency to reveal my deepest, most troubling kleshas, poisons, conditioned and habitual patterns. I find myself often sitting in the charnel ground of the stench of this manure and feel like sobbing with hopelessness about this human condition, samsara, I cling so tightly to. There, sometimes, doubt raises its ugly head and I think, “Am I even worthy of these precious practices?”
Amidst the roller coaster of energies and emotions I experience during Retreat, I recognize something that doesn’t change. I see the suffering that pervades the whole earth and I experience what feels like this indestructible yearning to practice, to keep practicing and keep practicing until I can wholeheartedly uncover the answer to this question, “What are you holding onto for dear life?” Then, and only then, can I fully awaken in order to help other poor souls such as me to see clearly who and what we truly are.