Palm Springs. Ball Park. Afternoon. Sunny. Warm. It was the bottom of the ninth inning and the last chance for the home team to earn 2 runs for the win. A win sends them to the championship game. All of a sudden, from somewhere, someone shouted three simple words which set off a profound spiritual alarm that moved me to want to share this with you. The words were, Find A Way.
These words were meant to motivate the players to dig deep, to look for something extra, to find a way to win the game. Each player had the potential to do more, to try harder, to motivate themselves and to add something extra to the skills they already had. Each player had this natural ability; they just needed to be reminded to find a way to win.
When I heard find a way blurted out I immediately felt a connection to the players on the field and with everyone else in the stadium and beyond. A feeling of peace and ease. I felt an incredible sense of presence, purpose and meaning behind the words find a way. It was as if time stopped and any afflictions of mind I may have had were for the moment demoted to the status of being dormant. I knew right then and there that we are all in a process of trying to find a way to peace, harmony and to win. We are all in this game of life together. It is comforting for me to know we are all on the same team.
In that instant I sensed that we have more in common than not. We are all sentient beings who at times may struggle to make sense of the rare and precious opportunity of being human. We each walk and share the same common ground. We share common challenges to living this life. We also share common opportunities. We all want to be happy and live with ease. We all have a natural ability to rise up, rather than sink down. We all have resilience and the instinct to survive. We all have the natural characteristic of an ability to awaken to the truth, just as Buddha did. We all have a natural Buddha-nature to awaken and to let go of all our self-created dramas.
Awakening is a continuous process, not an end state. It can happen any time and many times. Hearing the words find a way was one such awakening moment for me.
To find a way isn’t simply a matter of a will. It is rather a realization of our innate natural ability to awaken from the maze of desire, anger and ignorance. Fortunately, Buddha gifted us a way. We don’t need to find a way, on our own, we simply need to realize and develop the way he taught us, the Dharma. Just as the baseball coach has taught the players all the skills necessary to be competitive and to win, Buddha has shown us the skills necessary to live this life in a wise, purposeful and wholesome way, free of mental anguish. The rest is up to us.
The baseball players engage in both training and practice just as we are in training and practice to know our minds and let go of unwholesome qualities that hold us back.
We too need to go deeper. Insight meditation is one of many tools Buddha provided. Using Vipassanā we train and practice to engage the most unpleasant conditions in life, rather than trying to escape them. We find a way to face what is unpleasant; dukkha. We work through whatever ails us and we stick with it. So the difficult things in life can be teachers. “No mud, no lotus”.
Buddha gave us many tools for a happy, fulfilling life all rooted around Virtue, Mental Discipline and Wisdom. Its up to us to proceed and practice the skills we have learned and apply them to make progress towards a life of ease, joy and harmony.
Do we have it in us to win? I’d say we have a better chance than most, who don’t have knowledge of Buddha and Dharma and Sangha as refuge.
By the way, the home team did find a way and they won the game. So can we.
Find A Way.