We recently concluded a small discussion series at the center on Śāntideva's Bodhicaryāvatāra. While working through his chapter on the vīriya (vigor) pāramitā, a couple of us found ourselves commenting how we don't hear as much of the "push hard," "don't waste this moment," "attain what is yours to attain," "die on the mat" talk around here as we used to. Some other participants were quite surprised that there ever had been that much pushing and prodding and goading at this center.
I still hold to the "die on the mat" line. I find it expresses exactly what I need to do. It was the phrase I kept repeating to myself as I was working on mu. I remember coming to the point when I told myself, "Even if it kills me before this sesshin is over, and I never see the kids or anyone else again, it would be worth it for a glimpse into what I have been told is there to see."
And the Buddhas and bodhisattvas did not deceive: the Dharma is true.
I know there was a lot of backing down from the heady claims made on behalf of kensho and satori during the 60's and 70's. Still, if practice is not about awakening, then we are truly wasting our time.
Maybe it's time to turn up the heat.