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The Pitfalls of Practicing With Any Particular Aim

In the Diamond Approach, the central practice of inquiry reveals clearly the pitfalls of practicing with any particular aim. Practicing toward any end already implies that we know what is supposed to happen next. We are second-guessing reality about what it is going to present. Having a goal for our practice also assumes that what is happening is not enough, is not sufficient. When we strive toward some end or another, we are rejecting what is actually happening. Aiming for any particular end becomes an obstruction, a subtle veil over our immediate experience. One of the basic principles of inquiry is that we simply stay with wherever we are, we see the truth of the moment, we don’t try to get someplace. Where we are is where we need to practice, without judgment and without a goal. Seeing the truth of the moment develops and unfolds the moment in whatever way it needs to go, independent of our desires and beliefs. In the practice of inquiry, it is vital that we are not trying to orient what is happening, to direct it in one way or another. We don’t inquire, we don’t practice, in order to change where we are. We inquire simply to see what the truth is in that moment—and that might or might not change as we inquire. We cannot know ahead of time which way anything will go. What is happening might change toward something we like or it might change toward something we don’t like. letting go of aims is difficult because we all have our preferences and our ideas of what is good and bad. And we also have all manner of spiritual ideals that we have absorbed throughout our lives from reading books and hearing stories and learning practices.

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