Excerpt About Spiritual Path

One of the Central Dangers on the Spiritual Path

So, this is one of the central dangers on the spiritual path: whenever we experience something new, we want to put it in a box. We reify it and then separate from it in order to identify with it. Students sometimes ask me, “I had such and such an experience. what is it? What do we call it?” They ask in part because they want to recognize what has just happened to them, but they also ask so they can label and define their experience and hold on to it. The idea is: “If I can package this really nice thing that happened to me, I can identify with it—I can think that it is me, that it is part of me; it’s something I can say I have.” True presence, on the other hand, doesn’t care what it is. It is totally uninvested in itself. It is simply being itself. We can become aware of the tendency to want to freeze-frame our experience so that it can be known. Having all these snapshots is how we reify, but reality is more like a movie than a still picture. When you are being, everything is flowing.

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