Have you ever climbed a ladder before? I am sure you have. And most, if not all of us, will have forgotten about the usefulness of the ladder once we arrived at what we had needed it for in the first place. The purpose of the ladder is not for us to carry it around but to serve what is needed at that point of time. Imagine you are deeply grateful for the creation of the ladder – with each step you took on the rung, you are reluctant to let it go, simply because you felt it is ignoble to give up what has served you, where would you be then?
It may sound like a joke but in reality that is exactly what occurs in our lives. We cling on to things that serve our journey, each moment, and try reliving it as it bears much good memories of it, missing the moment that comes and passes by, totally absorbed in the imaginary past. That is not uncommon when we come to things that we are deeply attached to, irrespective whether it is animate or inanimate things. But we also do the same to unpleasant experiences too as if it is happening in our space again and again though what occurred before is done and over.
But what is more boggling is when we finally arrive at the final rung of the ladder when it is the moment calling us to totally let it go so as to step onto the arrival of where we are supposed to be. And imagine what it is like again, when out of indebtedness, one of the legs is still on the last rung of the ladder and the other foot safely on the ground where we are supposed to be. At this point of time, does the ladder serve its purpose? Definitely no, as that is not what it is all about.
The spiritual journey is what I am sharing about. The ladder or the teaching or whatever technique that we took on are merely means for us to finally arrive at the end of the journey; and for us to finally cross that threshold of the rung and the arrival itself, we have to fully abandon the means.
The end will not be experienced so long as we hold on dearly to what we think is true all the while. Guilt can be one reason to our inability to let go – as if it is an act of unfaithfulness. The simile of the boat has the same purpose – don’t expect to carry the boat once we arrive at the shore. It will not be considered arriving at the shore though one leg is already experiencing the ground, so long as the other leg is still on the boat surface.
The means are merely pointer to what we finally arrived at. There is no doubt that on the journey the means are important tools for us to work and probably respect on. Teachers or teachings are the same – when it is time for us to finally arrive, all concepts of their presence, which includes our adulation, our faithfulness of it all has to be surrendered totally to finally experience what they have invited us to savour. Not to give them up is to do disservice or injustice to what they have offered us. And to finally arrived at what those means are, is to offer reverence and appreciation for what has been given to us. The connection has to be severed to be connected again – it is simply paradoxical.