On the night of the Buddha’s awakening, he vowed: “I shall not give up my efforts until I have attained liberation by perseverance, energy and endeavor.” This demonstrates the quality of virya, courageous energy, the fifth parami (manifestation of the awakened mind). The Buddha’s awakening demonstrated the power of indefatigable energy arising from spiritual urgency—the recognition that now is the only reality.
Practicing the Path to liberation demands unremitting effort in the mind to abandon unskillful mental qualities and develop the skillful. Through this vitality, stillness comes. Through diligent attention, the grace and mystery of life are revealed. By this effort, we do not seek to “improve” ourselves. Rather, we open our minds to understanding what qualities of heart keep us bound and suffering and those that lead to freedom. This is a radical shift that requires profound compassion.
Exerting courageous energy is not striving and pushing to make something happen. It calls for balance—neither too much effort nor too little. We see when effort is tight and we relax. We see when it is flagging and we arouse energy, with equanimity.
Then, we can see when we’re caught, asleep, attached, or frightened and make the effort courageously to let go that which obstructs clear seeing. Doing so, we awaken to the unvarnished truth of experience. Through our effort to be present in body, mind and heart, presently the invisible is made visible. Will you arouse effort, energy and vitality in your practice, with urgency?