There is a common misunderstanding in spiritual practice that we do what we do to acquire some special qualities and that there is something to get from outside ourselves. Something that we don't already have. Something that will make our life perfect.
It is the lottery syndrome. We feel that if only we could win a large amount of money in the national lottery, then all our problems would end. Our life would become happier because all our reasons for worry and concern would be removed. Certainly, with correct planning, we would never have to think about paying the gas or electricity bills again, we would always have enough to eat, and somewhere comfortable to stay. Our anxieties for the future would diminish to the point of disappearance. From the position of being well provided for, our life would seem to be perfect. Actually, it is the dream of most people anywhere in the world to win or inherit a large sum of money so that the threat of unhappiness can be removed from their horizon.
This is the lottery syndrome, that there is something waiting for us in the future that can be acquired and our permanent and lasting happiness realised.
Without understanding it is the same in the spiritual life.

It is an idea that what we are doing now is actually a preparation for something in the future. We meditate now, not for what we can realise now, but for some realisation in the future. We are doing what we are doing, because someday it will all come right and we will find real and lasting happiness. We will have developed the qualities of peace, calm and equanimity at the expense of anger, fear and doubt. These are the things we feel we have to acquire and in order to acquire them we may have to travel. To India, or Tibet, or China, or Japan, or any other exotic place and find an enlightened teacher, who can give them to us. We have to go to a special place, a place where the teaching is.
Now, stop!
Turn your attention inside. Without comment, without judgement and you will see that you already have everything you seek, and pursuing something special is just only delaying that which you have to do. Putting down the delusions that you carry. The things that compromise your integrity, your honesty and your fearlessness.
There is nothing to get, only that which you can realise. Once realised you are free forever and you will have awoken from the dream.
This is my message.
I cannot make you practice. I can only be the voice in your heart telling you not to delay in making your effort. Liberation is the greatest gift we can bring to ourselves and the whole universe.

May all beings be happy.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Kewley is the former Buddhist monk Pannadipa and founder of the Pure Dhamma tradition of Spiritual Awakening. He trained as a disciple for thirty years with Sayadaw Rewata Dhamma, a Burmese Buddhist master, both as a monk and a layman, and in his youth in the traditions of Rinzai and Soto Zen.
He also spent time with Advaita Vedanta teachers in India, but now shares his complete spiritual understanding through the non dualistc presentation of Vipassana meditation and life-style.
He was the senior teacher at the International Meditation Centre in Budh Gaya, India for many years and was known affectionately as ‘the guru with the loving heart’. He says often that he has no teaching to give, only Dhamma to share.
On 26th May 2002 during a special ceremony at his masters temple in England he was awarded the supreme title of Dhammachariya, meaning master.
Michael's method of teaching is through the use of stories, both traditional and modern and with great humour.
To be in his presence is inspiring and profound, and everywhere in the world when he is present, Dhamma Halls are filled with the sound of joyful laughter.

Full biography of Michael Kewley, plus videos and details of on-line teaching can be found at: