July 2 – Wrong View – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
“The mind composed of ignorance or wrong view suffers from spiritual disease; it sees falsely. Seeing falsely causes it to think falsely, speak falsely and act falsely. You will see immediately that everyone, without exception, has the spiritual disease.” Ajahn Buddhadasa
In Pali, the ancient source language of Buddhism and Hinduism, the word for mental illness means “wrong view.” We must be careful not to interpret this righteously, as in, If here lies in the revelation that our wellness of mind things on how clear and how true we remain to the pulse of life itself.
At heart, our mental health comes out of the sacred relationship between our deepest Self and the very source of life. The moment we distort, limit or rationalize things away from what they truly are, we start to experience the spiritual disease that Ajahn Buddhadasa speaks of.
This Buddhist teacher from Thailand reminds us that these passages of imbalance and blurry thinking are unavoidable. They cannot be circumvented, the way you might drive around a pothole. No, these distortions can only be minimized and repaired. So we must accept that by being human, we will distort the gift of life, and thus we must commit to learning how to refresh our relationship with what is sacred.
Quite often, to uphold “a wrong view,” we build and maintain “a wrong way.” For example, when younger and sorely in need of approval and love, I hurt so much inside that I assumed that life was somewhere “over there,” not where I was. Once believing this, I put all my energy into getting over there. But after a hard journey, I was blocked. The people over there wouldn’t let me in. Now I had to figure out who was the gatekeeper and what were his rules, and now there was the doing of all these tasks to satisfy the gatekeeper, so I might be let in. It took me years to realize that no matter the pain, life is always where we are. Nothing is being withheld. All that misguided effort was built on a wrong view. As Buddhadasa says “Everyone, without exception, has the spiritual disease” while underneath, the undistorted life is softly waiting. Given this, we must each make a ritual not of seeing rightly, but completely.