temptation and spiritual maturity
Go watch The Apostle and then come back and read the rest of this blog...I don't know why I love this 1987 Robert Duvall movie so much...maybe because it portrays a man who is both holy and a sinner, both beatific and debauch, both a man of God, and subject to the weaknesses of the flesh....very subject! This is not something often portrayed in movies with such sympathy. Then there's the fantastic preaching scenes, especially the one where it's being translated into spanish and he's going "we're gonna stomp, stomp on the devil" and stomping on the ground, and the translator lady is saying it in spanish and mimicking him...stomping on the ground in time with him.
I don't think I go to such extremes in my life, but I deal with the same issues. Cammy used to say I was a hypocrite, because I practiced the dharma, but still lost mindfulness and acted like an jerk sometimes. I always tried to say to her, "That's WHY I practice the dharma...because I have no other idea how to stop being an jerk!" There was no talking to her though, sometimes. I always thought it was just a woman thing, but then, recently she told me she was diagnosed with BPD, and that there's actually a real disorder. I should have known, really, I always give people the benefit of the doubt.
I just know that the line between scoundrel and saint is a thin one sometimes, and I think the closer one gets to one's own tender heart, the greater temptation increases. That's why it's important, I think, to have guidance in spiritual endeavors..when I'm really having these powerful experiences, it's easy to get out of perpective unless I have someone to tell me, "Don't accept them, and don't reject them...just keep practicing." Lama Tashi really brings me down to earth. Plus, he's one of those wonderful spiritual teachers who although he has a great deal of insight and power, also has a great deal of stability, and doesn't seem to fall into the same traps that Robert Duvall's character fell into. He does have a weakness for cable TV though.