Nothing Missing: Relaxing the Requirement for Self Improvement

Event Details

Nothing Missing: Relaxing the Requirement for Self Improvement

Time: October 19, 2011 to October 23, 2011
Location: Chemin Dessus (Martigny), Switzerland
Website or Map:
Event Type: residential, meditation, retreat
Organized By: Sophie Cattier: contact at
Latest Activity: Oct 5, 2011

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Event Description

Nothing Missing:

Relaxing the Requirement for Self Improvement


We tend to think we are a problem to be solved. 

Consciously or unconsciously we have this uneasy feeling that something is missing.  Something is not quite right. 

 From a psychological point of view we think the problem is our conditioning.  If we could only identify and then work with our conditioning, then we might find relief from our shaky identity and establish a strong sense of self that is robust and healthy. 

From a spiritual point of view, we hope to either affirm a belief system we can rely on forever or dedicate ourselves to a set of practices that will eventually end our suffering and assuage the existential sense of lack.  The result is often that we either work endlessly towards psychological self improvement or become a perpetual spiritual “seeker” looking for nirvana. 

Both paths to salvation are flawed because they both miss the shadow aspect of this pervasive “sense of lack.”  Our deepest fears are not that we will never be good enough or that we will eventually die.  The shadow fear, the one we least want to face, is that the sense of self we rely on for our identity is, in truth, groundless and without substance.  

Nothing is missing. We are always perfectly ourselves.  The thing we cling to the most — our sense of self — is not worthy of our faith and trust.  We cling to our conditioning and forsake our True Nature.  

"Common people and sages are the same. [This mind] reaches everywhere without limit. It is not constrained by the limits of consciousness... If you can comprehend this, then there is nothing you lack."

- Shitou Xiquan (Jp., Sekito Kisen) (700-790).

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Appamada is not just the occasional mindful thought or attentive state of mind, it’s actually a commitment to being attentive. It’s more than just a meditative state of mind, it’s more than just being mindful. It has to do with that primary ethical or moral orientation we have in life, with which we bring into being whatever activity we’re engaged in. Whether in formal meditation, in our interactions with other people, in our social concerns, or in our political choices, it’s the energetic cherishing of what we regard as good.

—Stephen Batchelor


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