This Dharma Glimpse was originally presented on 3/7/2021 as part of my participation in the Lay Ministry Program of the Bright Dawn Center of Oneness Buddhism.
Recently, while scrolling Facebook, I came across a quote that was (to my understanding –falsely)attributed to Thomas Merton. The quote read :“If the you of five years ago doesn’t consider the you of today a heretic, you are not growing spiritually”. Although it’s origin can be disputed, I am rather fond of this quote.
March marks an anniversary of sorts for me. Six years ago, I entered into a role of ministry with a small, progressive Christian community. As I look back, I find that I was certainly in a different place spiritually than I am today; I held views that one could argue as having been much more strict, rigid. However, over time, I have been faced with challenges to these views which have caused me to fall into questioning their validity. Through these challenges, my views have adapted, transforming with the insight gained from both first-hand experience and introspection. Looking back, I certainly feel that the me of that time would label the me of now as “a heretic” and I really don’t think that is a bad thing.
From time to time, we all might find that we have that desire to cling onto something, keep it as we know it forever, even if it isn’t “physical” or“material”.We may find ourselves in a relationship -whether romantic or otherwise -where we hope the conditions remain unchanged forever, including the personality and views of others involved. Yet, through the guidance of both my experiences and teachings on impermanence like those we have encountered throughout our texts, I have come to recognize that this desire to avoid or prevent change is one of the things that causes us the most trouble or suffering. As we have begun to move forward into the practicum for our Lay Ministry program, we have all recognized that our meetings like this one shall also be coming to an end in the near future. Bearing this in mind, I bring to mind Koyo Sensei’s motto to “keep going”, knowing that nothing remains forever unchanged; rather, we and all things are all constantly in a state of becoming or transformation. Moving forward, let us all strive to better “go with the flow”.