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Dumb-Dumb Feeling

We joke in class, usually with a smile while rolling our eyes, about having a dumb-dumb-feeling. Its really true, we all get every now and then. It happens in class more frequently than not because we are constantly digging into the unknown, and we are beginners. It sucks, you just get one concept down that took you months to get just to be inundated once again with a new concept to stack on the one you barely just got . I feel at these times a bit lost or overwhelmed in the moment. It usually occurs for me when I am instructed to keep my attention divided on too many things (ie. 13 pts. + absorb-project + get the point) At first, like in anything, this feeling is met with a sense of doubt that you could comprehend it all. (That's true, but only for now)

It is at these time when I feel like I am making no progress, but I am still training consistently so that can't be the reason. One of my teachers would call these 'plateaus' and that in the internal system of martial arts I must learn to love them. So actually I have come to look for this feeling and not to fret it. My experiences have also shown me that usually shortly after these times I connect some of the pieces and I'm a step further than I was. Baby steps, or stacking sheets of rice paper one at a time or something. So I think of this feeling as a checkpoint in my progress. I figure I will continue to have them the rest of my career so I should get used to them now :). 

Another thing is that these dumb-dumb-feelings keep you humble. If I always knew what was going on then my cup would be full...not beginners mind, as we would say in class. This 'full cup' decreases progress. This feeling also ties into the recognizing the ego by 'like, don't like, don't know.' My teacher would say just recognize the feeling, set it aside, and keep training, no way around it.

Kalama Sutta (Kalama Sutra)

Do not simply believe what you hear just because you have heard it for a long time.
Do not follow tradition blindly merely because it has been practiced that way for many generations.
Do not be quick to listen to rumors.
Do not confirm anything just because it agrees with your scriptures.
Do not foolishly make assumptions.
Do not abruptly draw conclusions by what you see and hear.
Do not be fooled by outward appearances.
Do not hold on tightly to any view or idea just because you are comfortable with it.
Do not accept as fact anything that you yourself find to be illogical.
Do not be convinced of anything out of respect and deference to your spiritual teachers.

You should go beyond opinion and belief. You can rightly reject anything which when accepted, practiced and perfected leads to more aversion, more craving and more delusion. They are not beneficial and are to be avoided. Conversely, you can rightly accept anything which when accepted and practiced leads to unconditional love, contentment and wisdom. These things allow you time and space to develop a happy and peaceful mind. This should be your criteria on what is and what is not the truth; on what should be and what should not be the spiritual practice.

-The Buddha

wikipedia entry