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Shopping Advice for the Spiritual Supermarket Part 3 : Patience

by Patrick Groneman

Two years ago I set out on a quest: To sift through the myriad of practice opportunities available to a 21st century American Buddhist and find a spiritual path that I could call home.

I've since attended weeklong and weekend retreats in the zen, insight and shambhala Buddhist communities.  (You can read about them here: zen, insight, shambhala.) Though I've yet to declare myself a part of a particular school or lineage, I've learned a great deal about myself and my expectations for spiritual practice along the way, which I thought would be helpful to share here.

I'll be breaking them down into five different posts, one each Wednesday, while I'm away on retreat.  Feel free to comment and share, I hope the thoughts bring a sense of connection to the search.

Part Three - Be Patient

The desire that is driving you to find a spiritual path that you connect with is very important, and should not be downplayed.  But as I mentioned before, our tendency as a culture is actually to obliterate the energy of desire by finding an object of consummation for it.   Real patience requires resting with the desire, and having enough mindfulness to not just grab at whatever is nearby. 

I was discussing the topic of finding "my" spiritual practice with a Zen priest named Sokuzan Bob Brown (who is also a student of the Karmapa and Sakyong Mipham).    He told me that I was "jumping out of the train before it has reached the station."  In seeking a definitive answer I wasn't willing to rest with the unknown, and my eagerness was pushing me towards self-sabotage rather than actually finding what I was seeking.

(image courtesy of Leslie Wagner Art.)

Next week week I'll discuss the topic of labels.

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