August 08, 2021
The ever-present, unbounded sacred space of your nature is beyond distinctions of beauty or ugliness, pain or pleasure. Just as fear can drive you away from connection with your essential nature, beauty, too, can pull you away from it. And just as fear can lead you back to your essential nature, so can beauty.
When you see a beautiful flower, you may believe that the beauty lies in the flower and not in you. Regarding the flower as the source of that beauty reinforces your sense of yourself as one who is lacking – in this instance, lacking beauty. But the wisdom eye recognizes that the beauty of the flower is also the beauty of who you are: both arise from the same source, the inner refuge. Everything is of the same nature. So what happens when we perceive pain with the wisdom eye?
Normally when we have pain, we experience that we are the pain: I am hurting. But when you identify with the space, light, and warmth of the inner refuge, then even when blockages and pain are present, you recognize that you are fundamentally pure. In the dzogchen teachings the lotus is used to illustrate our fundamentally pure nature.
The lotus grows in water, and although the roots lie in the mud at the bottom of a murky pond, the blossom rests on the water's surface, its petals unblemished and pure. When you are fully present in pain, can you feel your lotus nature?
Pain is appearance. Blockages, numbness and discomfort are appearances.
The thoughts and stressful speech you have about your pain are appearances. All the challenging situations you experience are also appearances. No matter what appears in it, unbounded sacred space is unchanging. Can you recognize your unbounded nature?
As we've been practicing, stillness of the body, silence of speech, and spaciousness of mind are the three doors that lead to the recognition of our unbounded nature. This recognition cuts the root of suffering. When the root is cut, no appearance can delude or disturb you.
By going for inner refuge and becoming familiar with the truth of your unbounded nature, you come to feel strong enough and brave enough to journey to the very heart of appearances, rather than continually running away from them. Discovering the space, light, and warmth in the presence of appearance is healing.
When pain is your challenge, if you can access the inner refuge and rest there, you will gain confidence that you are not your pain. Furthermore, your suffering will transform. Pain will no longer define your whole existence, and positive qualities like love, humor, and joy will become available to you.
In the midst of pain, remember that you always have the choice to connect to stillness, silence, and spaciousness, and rest in the inner refuge. As you rest there, open awareness can clear disturbing thoughts and emotions as well as soothe physical pain.
How much is your life guided by light and awareness, and how much is it driven by reactivity and denial? The inner refuge is your unfailing support in any moment. Let it be your best friend.
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Buy Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's book, The True Source of Healing: How the Ancient Tibetan Practice of Soul Retrieval Can Transform and Enrich Your Life. Explore more titles from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's author collection. Reprinted from Ligmincha International
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January 17, 2023
Cultivating mindfulness is the key to overcoming suffering and recognizing natural wisdom: both our own and others'. How do we go about it?
In the Buddhist tradition and in Contemplative Psychotherapy training, we nurture mindfulness through the practice of sitting meditation. There are many different kinds of meditation. For example, some are designed to help us relax; others are meant to produce altered states of consciousness.
Mindfulness meditation is unique in that it is not directed toward getting us to be different from how we already are. Instead, it helps us become aware of what is already true moment by moment. We could say that it teaches us how to be unconditionally present; that is, it helps us be present with whatever is happening, no matter what it is.
Mindfulness, paying precise, nonjudgmental attention to the details of our experience as it arises and subsides, doesn't reject anything. Instead of struggling to get away from experiences we find difficult, we practice being able to be with them. Equally, we bring mindfulness to pleasant experiences as well. Perhaps surprisingly, many times we have a hard time staying simply present with happiness. We turn it into something more familiar, like worrying that it won't last or trying to keep it from fading away.
When we are mindful, we show up for our lives; we don't miss them in being distracted or in wishing for things to be different. Instead, if something needs to be changed we are present enough to understand what needs to be done. Being mindful is not a substitute for actually participating in our lives and taking care of our own and others' needs. In fact, the more mindful we are, the more skillful we can be in compassionate action.
December 19, 2022
It's easy to lose sight of the beauty of the world in the midst of tragedy, political upheaval, injustice and suffering. While we continue with our practice, working to ease the suffering of others and living a life of compassion and Love, we also need to be mindful and grateful for the beauty of the world that still surrounds us when we choose Love. Like Pops says, "Love baby. Love. That's the secret."
"What a Wonderful World" [1970 Spoken Introduction Version] along with Oliver Nelson's Orchestra is a song written by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas) and George David Weiss. It was first recorded by Louis Armstrong and released as a single in 1968. Thiele and Weiss were both prominent in the music world (Thiele as a producer and Weiss as a composer/performer). Armstrong's recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Intended as an antidote for the increasingly racially and politically charged climate of everyday life in the United States, the song also has a hopeful, optimistic tone with regard to the future, with reference to babies being born into the world and having much to look forward to.
November 04, 2022