It is said that God created man in his image. By that token it was meant that we as humans should possess god-like qualities, at least the potential of achieving such qualities. In almost every religious culture, man is constantly called to discover his real self. The entire struggle of life has been the dissonance between two polarities: what and who we are, and what and who we aspire to be.
My job is to remind you of what your true potential is. And your job is to remember and try, and attain it. Awareness, mental strength, kindness, consideration for others, these are qualities we try and develop on our way to realisation. One of these qualities is crucial to achieving this end: self-awareness—the fact of looking at ourselves, our mind and our motivations with clarity and understanding where we are on the part to self-realisation.
One of the great errors of the mind is to pay undue attention to what is outside us. I feel that many of us sometimes lack the courage to look at ourselves in the mirror, and yet we look at others with magnifying glasses. This is how we make ourselves miserable. Let us have the courage to see ourselves clearly. Knowing your own shortfalls is a fearless way of living, because only when you know these can you put your foot down and say, ‘OK, now I have to improve. I have to change.’
The right way is to understand that everything is within you, and so work with yourself and develop yourself. If you understand that the mind is the creator of everything, then you will begin to feel that everything is in your hands. I hope that this realisation feels like a kind of freedom; this is my own experience.
Freeing yourself from a rigid image you have of yourself and those burning emotions that your ego would like you to cling to, gives you a renewed resilience and flexibility. When objects are hard and brittle, like glass, they are more likely to shatter than something pliable. Introducing a bit of ‘give’ into your life is a wonderful release from all that pressure you’ve heaped on your shoulders in the past, or had heaped on by others. It gives you the ability to take the ups and downs of life as they come with the strength of adaptability and opens you up to exciting possibilities. You will be more loving to your family, kinder to your neighbours and to yourself. You won’t need to run away. You will be warmer, more understanding, more comfortable with the world. And the reason you have become so is because you have let go.
The fruit of being egotistical and selfish is to remain in suffering. The fruit of taking care of others is enlightenment. Often, what we do every day comes from selfishness. You may do something for your children, your parents or friends, but it’s also for yourself. Even if we are giving, there is some kind of expectation. We may be doing good, so it’s not all bad, but we have some way to go. We need to realise our weakness and understand our selfishness. Then we can begin to change our attitude. Because right now the room in our minds is sometimes so small, we can’t even be there. So we must expand our minds and let go of our egos by understanding how important happiness is for all.
You already know that happiness is important for you. It’s the key part of your life. Everyone wants happiness. The first step is to know how important happiness is for everyone. Spiritual practice is about training your own mind, your own inner self, it is not about training others. It is about how much you are able to expand your inner space. The author is the spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas