“However beneficial a practice appears to be, however politically correct or exciting, if it does not contradict your habit of grasping at permanence, or looks harmless but insidiously encourages you to forget the truth of impermanence and the illusory nature of phenomena, it will inevitably take you in the opposite direction to dharma” Dzongsar Jamyang Rinpoche
Dzongsar Rinpoche never strays from the fundamental point. What does it mean to live in accordance with Dharma? How can you live a life that is in line with what you truly are? To begin, how is the mind supposed to function? Epictetus says:
“the proper work of the mind is the exercise of: choice, refusal, yearning, preparation, purpose, ascent”
As such, when the mind clings, grasps, worries, ruminates - something has gone awry. It is like you’ve picked up a hammer to deal with a nail, and then after you’ve finished you continue to grip the hammer tighter and tighter, dreaming of future nails to hit. Coming out of our old habits of mind can only be done when we see them clearly. When we see and hold them with love.
“Practicing mindfulness enables us to become a real person. When we are a real person, we see real people around us, and life is present in all its richness” Thich Nhat Hanh
We must practice being present with the contents of our mind without condemning them. Our mind is like a monkey - endlessly leaping from branch to branch. With mindfulness we can see this clearly within ourselves, and also see that this same mind exists in others. Truly, this is the end of pretending. Truly, this is the beginning of presence.
“We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow sufferer.” Carl Jung
Oppression falls by the wayside. If you condemn the monkey that is inside and out, then you are condemning life itself. Liberate yourself from the monkey by seeing its activities. Smile, wave, and return to the now.
“The quickest way to change the world, is to like it the way it is” A.R. Ammons
Or as Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche says:
“Let the phenomena play. Let the phenomena make fools of themselves by themselves”
You can watch the world with dispassion, but remember that you can never go beyond it. The monkey is never destroyed, only tamed. For to be human is to play the human game, and to play the human game is compare this and that. And to do this - you need to take hold of your mental faculties.
“For without a criterion, there is no ascertaining the things to be assessed” Maitrayaniya Upanishad
To pass a judgement upon the world, to put this against that - we must have a standard of assessment. And would this criterion be guided by Truth, guided by mindfulness - we would never stop asking ourselves: Was I loving enough? Was I honest enough? Was I kind enough? You move in accordance with Dharma when your actions are self-liberating.
“This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief” Rumi
Oh weaver of dreams, keep building castles of love.
It is as it is.
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