The mistake we make is to turn upon our past with angry wholesale negation. … The way of wisdom is to treat it airily, lightly, wantonly, and in a spirit of poetry; and above all to use its symbols, which are its spiritual essence, giving them a new connotation, a fresh meaning.
Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain. We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this metaphor is that we leave all the others behind. . . . In the process of discovering our true nature, the journey goes down, not up. . . . Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward the turbulence and doubt. . . . We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we will let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of compassion. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.
Monetary donations to a spiritual cause, contributions of physical labor, involvement with a particular guru, none of these necessarily mean that we have actually committed ourselves to openness. More likely these kinds of commitments are simply ways of proving that we have joined the side of "right.