The Buddha Dharma is a very exasperating spiritual tradition. There is no one approach, no single textual source, and nobody to tell us which method is best. It is all on us to figure it out. This is the antithesis of traditions that believe they have the one true way. So, how does one negotiate the labyrinth of seemingly complex choices in the Buddhist tradition—and land somewhere?

Discovering our place and landing on a particular approach to Buddha’s teachings requires us to be interested in how our mind works. Otherwise, it is best to look elsewhere. If you are sincere in exploring the nature of your mind, just observe what arises. Is there an aspect of the Dharma that piques your curiosity? 

This curiosity is none other than the true nature of your mind seeking to make itself known. If you follow the enticement of your interest, you can trust your instincts. This is the natural wisdom with which you were born being reflected back to you. There is no better source material for studying and practicing Buddhism.

In the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition there are literally thousands of sources and teachers. If your karma surfaces a version you can handle, and which seems to mirror your highest aspiration, then investigate and practice that form. But do not expect it to look like your ‘ideal’ situation. It is better if it is a bit of a challenge or you won’t learn anything. The ego is sneaky that way.

My experience has taught me the best spiritual practice for anyone is the version that strips the ego bare and reveals the light hidden there. It creeps up on us and pummels our idealistic thinking into the ground; we fall flat on our face, metaphorically speaking. Then we stand up, dust ourselves off, and humbly walk the path that compels us to wake up. This is the source of any progress along the path.

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