In our effort to end our personal suffering, we inevitably face crossroads that compel us to change. Whether brought on by the hardship of addiction, inspiration, or a longing for meaning, these pivotal moments motivate us to transform habits, mindsets, or lifestyles. Yet the path of real change is arduous, requiring persistent dedication over superficial engagement.
When our initial enthusiasm fades into the mentality of a dabbler... skimming the surface but never fully diving in... we set ourselves up for disappointment. This half-hearted commitment is often why we suffer, as our aspirations for growth give way to shallow complacency. Both the road to recovery and the pursuit of spiritual awakening or completeness demand more; they necessitate a deep, unwavering commitment to the full process of change.
In my experience, recovery necessitates what my sponsor refers to as the "Deep Dive." Many people are in the shallow end of the pool - their life is a little better on the outside, but they're still dying on the inside. The social acceptability has been solved, but not the inner knowledge of how to be happy without getting it from external sources.
The invitation is to introspect... deeply look inward at our path of healing from addiction, trauma, or unhealthy attachment styles. Our histories truly beg us to take a deep dive. Whether we like it or not, to truly break free from cycles of sickness requires relentless dedication, rigorous introspection, and perseverance.
Recovery is not merely abstaining from destructive behaviors like getting high or not acting out on our process addiction bottom-lines; it is a progressive and complete transformation of how we meet our life... so that we truly get to be "fully whole and wholly free." It requires facing excruciating experiences and memories, dismantling ingrained habits that tend towards self-inflected suffering, and healing our fractured personality, so that as one person I get to mentor says, "My audio is in sync with my video."
For the dabbler, this is too much to take on. They may feel pumped after a recovery meeting, a talk with their mentor/sponsor, a therapy session, or a meditation retreat they've attended once or twice, but when confronted with recovery's harsh realities, they shrink back and regress. The dabbler is unprepared for the setbacks, the emotional chaos, the meeting life on life's terms, instead of having all our personal preferences and desires met. Life's not Burger King, where we get to have everything our way. Consequently, they cycle between initial excitement and subsequent defeat - a recipe for suffering. True recovery demands a deep dive, not just slapping our hand at the surface of the water at the shallow end and expecting our life to be 180° different.
Zen... which could be translated as "living as wholeness" or "unified presence," is a practice that is far beyond superficiality. Zen is for those who want the scales removed from our vision, placed there by the small sense of self, that keeps us showing up short on ourselves and others, benignly neglecting ourselves and others.
Recovery and Meditation culture isn't designed to be treated like a hobby. They require vigilance and dedication. Zen, in particular is not a philosophical concept; it's a way of life. Rooted in the teachings of mindfulness, presence, and simplicity, Zen calls for a deep understanding of the self and our authentic nature as the universe Itself. This is known as "kensho," meaning being clear and awakened to our experience 360°. Sometimes the Tibetans refer to this as panoramic awareness.
A meditation retreat might sound enticing for a dabbler—a chance to escape "grind culture" and find tranquility. However, the true essence of Zen lies beyond mere relaxation. It requires rigorous meditation, contemplation, and a continuous endeavor to detach from thought spirals and transactions of materialistic entrapment culture.
The dabbler, attracted to the aesthetics of Zen or "mindfulness culture," soon finds the commitment overwhelming. They dabble in meditation, learn of few zen-like quotes to sound "cool" or give the impression that they're doing the work to heal, but never truly surrender (not fighting the help, love, change, and healthy support) and give themselves. The result? A surface-level understanding, devoid of the True Freedom and awakening that recovery and Buddhism promise.
Dabbling is a particularly strong root that keeps us anchored to suffering that influences us away from truly standing in full authenticity and integrity within ourselves. The problem with dabbling is that it sets us up for disappointment. We enter into a venture with high expectations, only to be met with challenges that demand more than surface-level engagement. Our failure to commit wholeheartedly leads to stagnation and, in some cases, regression. This mismatch between expectation and reality is a direct source of suffering.
In conclusion, whether it's the path of recovery or the pursuit of Zen, half-hearted commitments lead to suffering. Both these journeys demand a level of dedication that goes beyond the initial excitement. They call for generosity, resilience, patience, and a commitment not to give up on ourselves through procrastination and flow with the healing process. For those truly seeking change, transformation, or enlightenment AKA "Completeness" or being "Fully whole and wholly free" or "Liberation," it's essential to move beyond the dabbler's mindset. Only through a deep, unwavering commitment can we unlock the true benefits these paths offer and free ourselves from the shackles of suffering.
一We Are the Practice Itself