From the outside, when we see a person connecting with a Tradition, it looks fairly straightforward, and self evident. We may see them going to church, or to a temple; on a retreat, or pilgrimage; we may find them joining a candle light procession, reading scriptures or sutras or inspired poetry in time set apart, or having a daily meditation practice. This much can be seen.
Within the experience itself however, there is a richness that is subtle, and tangible. This is less often talked about, and so I’d like to say something about it here…
If we are connected to a Tradition, there are blessings that can be known directly, and that are not visible to the outside world. We can feel an immediacy, of protection, of guidance, and encouragement; healing energy, and the presence of our spiritual ancestors and allies. We can feel a strength that is related to our Tradition, with its clarity and vision.
When we connect with a tradition, its unique power can be felt, as subtle nourishment, and as light. This is what attracts a person in the first place, and the memory of it is what brings them back, even if they have wandered far. Even if we do not understand it well, or fully, its power works in our lives.
A tradition can also be felt to be a great source of power that has gathered over time. It has been created by the devotion and love of generations, our spiritual family, and its sacred energy is ever available to us. Connecting with this is like opening a tap for pure water to flow.
There is a karmic element to such a connection, surely -there is an external aspect, the Venerable Tradition, and then there is our inner makeup, and when these two meet, if we have a personal affinity, experience easily opens up. Owning to our different natures, this is not the same for everyone, but just thinking about this has got to bring respect for every individual’s choice of a path, and celebration.
May we all connect deeply with one or more traditions and their teachers in this lifetime, and receive their blessings into our lives in full.
If we relate personally to only one teaching, or one teacher, or tradition, we may identify its wondrous benefit simply as the quality of warmth, and aliveness, and peace, and purity that we know. If we have had the experience however of moving between religions, and traditions, and lineages, and also connecting with them deeply, the unique qualities of each tradition becomes more readily apparent. This is a delight to know, and to think about, and to even try to speak of.
It is actually this living quality that we find in our tradition that can be felt in our practice, and throughout our lives. It is the energy of the realization that is within each word of its teaching, in its every insight, and gentle, compassionate encouragement. It is a blessing to us, and this is what we draw from to give, through the generations.
When we know the esoteric aspect of a tradition, we smile. We feel the immediacy of our great good fortune here, and naturally find ways to share this with all we meet, and with all the world.