Forgetting Is Hard
Our mind cannot truly settle when thoughts and worries are present in it. In terms of faith, we prevent ourselves from understanding the truth of the teachings by trying to understand it from the perspective of our own ideas, knowledge, and experience, and consequently we fail to embrace what one might call true faith. If we let go of all preconceived notions and thereby make our mind empty, we should be able to awaken to the truth of God. Yet we do not let go; therefore, our mind cannot settle. We are thus unable to awaken. In the context of the world at large, people needlessly create various problems by thinking one unhelpful thought or another as well as expressing such thoughts, which the world could easily do without. As for those of us who are aspiring to follow this path, we must make an effort to let go of all thinking and forget about our worries and thoughts.
Having said that, I should add that it is much harder to forget than to keep things in our heads. Although, in a common worldly context, forgetting is probably not a hard thing to do, in this path forgetting is the hardest task we face. Nonetheless, if we manage to forget about everything so as to keep our mind empty, the truth of God will naturally flow in, whenever necessary. Thus, one prerequisite for embracing faith is to forget about everything. If our mind is filled with thoughts and worries, we cannot awaken to the truth.
Just Being on the Path for a Long Time Will Not Do
Naturally, those of us who are on the path would like to be shown the vivid workings of God. Not only do we study the teachings, but we are willing to make the effort to overcome the difficulties entailed in being able to see God’s workings.
The workings of God, however, can be slippery things. Why is that? We are taught: “If you say God exists, then God exists; if you say God does not exist, then God does not exist. You can see God in the results that appear when you pray with a truly sincere mind.” This means that unless our mind becomes truly sincere, we cannot be shown God’s workings. For example, if we want to see physical objects, we must first open our eyes. If we cover our ears, we cannot hear things. If we open our eyes, things come into view―even things that we do not want to see. If we do not cover our ears, we hear even things that we would rather not hear. If we want to be shown God’s workings, then, we must open our mind’s eye. Opening our mind’s eye means making our mind truly sincere.
“Making the mind truly sincere” may sound like an easy thing to do. However, the mind cannot truly be made sincere through ordinary, average efforts in terms of both undergoing training and dealing with the difficulties involved. For example, we could have spent twenty years on the path and still fail to be shown God’s workings, if we have merely been on the path. Some people end up complaining that, after having been on the path for twenty (or even thirty) years, they still have not been shown God’s workings. There are, indeed, many followers like that. Yet merely spending a long time on the path will not do. That is like trying to see things while keeping their eyes closed. Falling ill can motivate people to work on spiritual development, but that alone will not be sufficient to enable people to see God’s workings if their mind’s eye remains closed.
Our physical eyes are capable of seeing things thanks to God’s providence of water. Likewise, our mind’s eye, by nature, is capable of seeing God’s workings if it is just opened. Opening our mind’s eye entails the purification of our mind. That is to say, to the degree our mind becomes purified, to that degree will God’s workings and manifestations come into view. Thus, if we want to see God’s marvelous salvation, we need to first purify our mind and make it truly sincere. This, in fact, is what is meant by following the path in the true sense of the term. Unless that is done, one will not be able to grasp God, however long one may follow the path. If we cannot see God or understand how precious God is, that means that our mind has yet to become completely pure.