Looking Back on the Effort

Ajahn Yatiko

Looking Back on the Effort

Yesterday, Luang Por Sopah was giving some reflections about Wat Pa Pong and what it was like in the early days. While Luang Por spoke, I looked over at Ajahn Pasanno and saw him smiling brightly as he listened. I could almost see the wheels in Ajahn Pasanno’s head turning as his memories were being churned up. It seemed to me that he might have been thinking, I know what Luang Por Sopah is talking about, and no one else here can really know what it was like living with Luang Por Chah. But I do know and I do remember.

I recall somebody saying once that after years of difficult practice have passed and time has put some perspective on one’s life, then one can look back on all the effort and suffering involved in the practice with real appreciation, delight, and gratitude. This is very different from the suffering that arises when one becomes obsessed with personal ambitions, worries, and concerns. When we look back on those sorts of past experiences, there tends to be a feeling of loss and a sense of time wasted.

But again, when we look back at the effort we have put into our practice, how we have endured and cultivated the path, the beautiful teachings that we loved, respected, imbibed, and listened to, then the heart feels bright, warm, soft, and rich. That’s something that I thought I clearly saw in Ajahn Pasanno yesterday as Luang Por Sopah was recollecting his life at Wat Pa Pong.

We can lose touch with the inspiring memories of our wholesome efforts due to the immediacy of the daily difficulties, frustrations, and temporary setbacks we experience. With these daily concerns, we can easily forget that we’re engaged in something very beautiful and noble. So from time to time, we need uplifting, we need to refresh ourselves, and that’s where these inspiring memories of our past efforts come in. They can uplift and refresh our practice and are worth bringing up, reflecting upon, and appreciating. They remind us that we have been engaged in something very beautiful and noble, indeed.

This reflection by Ajahn Yatiko is from the book, Beginning Our Day, Volume 1, pp. 172-173.