I attended the first phase Ascension Workshop last weekend and find their method of addressing defilements, or ‘grooves’ as they put it, interesting and refreshing. Other than the experience of meditation that emphasizes on open and close eyes meditation, not having any particular rigid way of sitting, and yes, also lying down meditation which is much encouraged throughout the day; what etched deeply in my mind is the statement made by the monk at the end of the session which comes in the form of a question – the original question given by the founder, MSI, that inspired many more to take on this journey: Which area in your life have you compromised?
I find the question relevant and profound – in fact, it points towards the direction of human suffering that each of us try to resolve or escape from in our daily basis, if not every moment of our lives, and yet not fully finding a foolproof way of ending suffering that leads to everlasting peace. Normally we tend to relate compromise with sacrifice as in not honouring our hearts but to be subjugated to things we are not happy to do. Yet, strangely, even if there are truly moments of happiness, guilt may appear asunder, throwing us off balance from what we are already enjoying – hence compromising ourselves again. And even if there is no conscious guilt present, the unknowing mind may have compromised in taking on lesser happiness for the higher, simply just to feed the need of what has been repressed or addicted earlier.
It can be a common dilemma of choosing what is good for one’s health over food that we like and making a compromise within not to repeat it again. Or to resign to a situation of conflict that we are not ready to face so as not to stir up the worst in us though we very well know that the best may emerge from it subsequently. There are even situations where we do not have the clarity to choose what is truly best for us, having both equal pros and cons for each possibility, hence bringing us into situations where confusion reigns and regretting later the choices we have made.
What is it that you really, really, want – asked another teacher of mine. And he reiterated further that if one is truly one-minded about it, then guilt or compromise will not surface. But his question is tricky and profound as what we usually want, be it money, relationship, career, health, etc., is constantly about something to cover-up what we do not want – to mean that what we want is to fix what we do not want – though that is not the essence of his question. What I am trying to say is that what we think we really, really want may not be the very root of our want. We only focus on what we don’t want and make demands around it. It is ignorance of what is there and finding ways of not facing it. So a truer question will be – what is it that you are ignoring that makes you compromise on your peace? Do you know?
Just by attending to this one question, or any similar question for that matter that directs one to self-inquiry; the mystery of life’s suffering will see its end – perhaps not when one is not ready on the pursuit for Truth and nothing but the Truth. What is Truth then? Suffering and the end of suffering. Don’t you think compromise is suffering?