Some seekers seemed to be blessed by having few “mystical experiences” along the way. I’m not one of them. You name it, and it’s happened to me (or so it seems–really there’s a lot that *hasn’t* happened to me, thank God). The problem is that I don’t want “experiences,” I want the transformation of awakening. Theosis. Enlightenment. The Big “E.” Most of my experiences tend to be intellectual or emotional in nature. As my teacher reminds me, they can help encourage me to stay on the path. And as he also reminds me, they are not what I’m seeking.
Sometimes I feel like giving up. It seems impossible to move beyond my thoughts and feelings. No matter how inspirational or “insightful,” thoughts are just thoughts. I sometimes despair of being able to move past thought. My meditation is filled with thought. I seldom am able to experience “the witness” for more than a few seconds.
In *Hardcore Zen,* Brad Warner writes with unusual candor about some of his deceptive experiences, and how his teacher helped him to move past. I’m fortunate to have a teacher who’s helping me the same way. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I could just think my way in. Dang experiences!