The point of spiritual practice

Someone may relate to Dharma merely as a kind of remedy to be used when confused or upset. This, of course, is not the real purpose of spiritual practice. In this kind of situation, you do some practice until you have settled down, and then you set it aside and forget all about it. The next time you get upset, you do some more practice in order to feel good again. Of course, reestablishing one’s equilibrium in this way is one of the minor purposes of practice, but it’s not the real goal. Doing this is a way of using the Dharma as if it were a type of therapy. You may of course choose to do this, but I do not think it will get you enlightened. Feel a little bit unhappy, do some Dharma, get happy. Feel a little bit upset, then feel fine, then again feel unhappy. If you just continue like this, holding this very short-term view in mind, then there is no progress. ‘Last night I didn’t sleep—my mind was disturbed, and the dog was barking next door. Now my mind is a little upside down, so I need to do a session to cure it. Okay, this morning I’ll meditate.’ Do not practice in this way. Dharma practice is not meant to make oneself feel better. The whole point of spiritual practice is to liberate oneself through realization and also to liberate others through compassionate capacity.

Fearless Simplicity, pg. 27