Burdened with the precarious nature of our everyday world in which we can suddenly lose our job, become ill, or experience some other kind of crisis, it is not easy to make the effort to see our true nature.
When faced with these uncertain conditions, many of us make a bargain with ourselves: “Okay, when all this crap gets settled—maybe after I retire—I’ll take up the great matter of looking for my true nature again.” There are other kinds of bargains, similar to this, we make all the time. It is almost an excuse for why we are not dedicated to seeking out the pure or unborn Mind. We may even take halfway measures like meditation for 20 minutes a day and leaving it at that, or just attend our local Zen center and do a Sesshin now and then.
There is no need to make such bargains, that is, to lessen our search for the mysterious ox (Buddha Mind, our true nature, pure Mind etc.) we seem to have lost somewhere in the jungle of our temporal mind. What is important is our dedication to looking for our true nature in the midst of such troubling circumstances, not giving up for even a second. It is somewhat like being in love going on a long journey to see our lover. Whatever the odds might be, we believe we will overcome them.
The realization of our true nature is not going to walk up to us and present itself to us when, temporarily, our troubles have been taken care of. Far from it! Bodhi or realization is only going to present itself to us after we’ve searched for it, and have finally come to our wit's end by trying to figure out what this Buddha Mind is like (still trying to conceptualize it). Only then is it possible to see this, our true nature. It matters not to our true nature if we are doing back-breaking work in a cannery or sitting at a desk, we still have to find this mysterious ox of ours in the jungle of our mind. It takes a lot of dedication even in the midst of psychological disharmony. You have to be, honestly, dedicated.