Fundamentals of the Dharma: Staying Within Yourself
In the West we have little preparation for dharma practice because our lives have not been tuned to staying within ourselves. We have been taught to look outside for approval and to compare ourselves to others. How can we possibly find ourselves within any comparison? All we will ever find is a sense of lacking. Leaning toward the world does not allow us to find our own stability, and yet we cannot question the sense of self without inward evenness and dependability.
For Your Contemplation
Find your sense of self-esteem, your inward convictions, and strength of character. Find that place where you are unquestionably yourself, and no one can take it from you. That is where we move from in dharma, nowhere else. This must be firmed up before any questions can be asked about the nature of self. How much doubt lies within your actions of body, speech, and mind? How much do you need others to confirm your presence? Go to that pain of being partial and incomplete and allow it into your heart until you can stand alone and look deeply into that aloneness.