In what ways have I used the "spiritual practice" to avoid growth? Kevin Griffith (One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps) pointed out one, and that's that I don't always talk about what is going on with me with my close ones. I have to have a sense of what I need to talk about. I can't endless hope for an archaeologist to be digging to find them for me. I am that archaeologist.
Mistakes are fruit that helps you see that you're missing something. Wishing things were otherwise just doesn't work. Not allowing yourself to see your shortcomings is a mistake.
On problem with putting the petal to the metal, "going for it", really trying hard, is if you take your foot off the petal and coast. You can try to hard, get exhausted, and coast. That's the whole lute strings lesson. Pressing as much as you can consistently is a skill, not binging in effort, but being consistent day after day.
Spiritual bypassing implies that you've missed something along the way.
Reflecting today I got an appreciation for vigilance and constancy. I think of Charlotte Joko Beck's idea of "nothing special"(Nothing Special). Not getting too excited by the peak meditation experiences, the sangha highs, the pleasures of intellectual discourse. Theoretical pyrotechnics can be pleasing, but do they really help you to be more aware and kind to others? It can be an intoxication of sorts for me. Sangharakshita warns about spiritual indigestion from eating such rich teachings. We have an open source Buddhism now, to some extent, but we need a teacher who points us to the teachings we need at that moment, or we need to just be mindful of this phenomenon, be our own best teacher. My spiritual heroes often had to do so much themselves, there were no good teachers. The Buddha spent time with two teachers whom he learned as much as he could from, and they had very high attainments. It's so amazing that he somehow knew there was more.
I can get through a lot of meditation on the high of thoughts. Other ground me, and help me see when I've walked over towards a ledge. The sense pleasure hinderance of thinking is a real hinderance for me. (Wet cat noses are not too much of a hinderance.)
Another thing that excites me is buildings, real estate, space. Every "for rent" sign I see, I wonder if I could set up a Dharma center. I need to be grounded in reality and know when I am ready for that. The desire to share the dharma outstrips my ability to effectively communicate it, and really embody the teachings. It's my narcissistic grandiosity to think I could do so, but it's always a huge leap to think one could lead, and yet we need leaders in the world. Pointing oneself in a direction is what is needed. You launch yourself out there, and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
I've binged on the teachings, and I'm not doing that any more. I'm digesting them and not projectile vomiting them back out. Patience is required, you can only eat some much. Being in tune with your body helps you to not abuse yourself, to not try too hard. So looking at past mistakes can make you get a sense of progress. I'm no longer doing that any more.
The forever dilemma of a latch key child (me) is wanting more support, and then being too isolated and "independent". Working with others the right amount is a challenge. Even the story that I'm a latch key child is something I can loosen my grip on, that was so long ago. Growing up is such a challenge. I don't like it when people shout "grow up!" at others, but others can be frustrating. Even said gently and sweetly it's not easy to grow up.
I am grateful for the people who care enough to point me in the right direction, even if they have given up on me in the present. Actions from the past linger and nourish one. I think of all the lessons I've learned along the way and I am grateful. Thanks to all my teachers and all my mistakes and all the awareness and self esteem in myself that allows me to recognize and plot a course. I am grateful for catching mistakes, and seeing things I've missed in my attempt to bypass. It teaches me what short cuts don't work. Reading one's actions and not just fickle intensions is important. Seeing oneself clearly can be difficult for different people in different ways. I hope to have the grace to embrace my real journey.