Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Face and Embrace Difficulty

I lived for eight years in a Tibetan monastery, a forest cloister under my late teacher Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s guidance. One amazing discovery for me was to find there—mirrored within those blessed, peaceful, sylvan walls and garden—much of the same dissatisfaction and delusion that can be found in the world around us. All of those conflicts and illusions lie within. "The soul of man is the true battlefield", as Dostoevsky and Gandhi both said. Thus we may find many spiritual warriors dedicated to waging this inner struggle for the benefit of the world as well as for inner peace. As above, so below; as within, so without. My Tibetan teachers always told me that the first step in handling suffering was to look at our losses realistically. Put aside all illusions and delusions about what could have been or should have been, then squarely face the grief and the pain. Acknowledge your tears and unhappiness. Know what you are experiencing. This is the opposite of denial. Feel it, examine it, and reflect upon it. Sense directly in the present moment how it affects you in your body and your mind. Face and embrace the difficulties, and you'll be better for it.
-Lama Surya Das

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