03
Feb
08

How to Let Go


How to Let Go
Integrating Emptiness in Everyday Life
Lama Thubten Yeshe

What is emptiness? Emptiness (shunyata) is the
reality of the existence of ourselves and all the phenomena
around us. According to the Buddhist point of view, seeking
reality and seeking liberation amount to the same thing. The
person who doesn’t want to seek reality doesn’t really want
to seek liberation, and is just confused.

If you seek reality and you think that it has to be shown
to you by a Tibetan Lama, that you have to look for it outside
yourself, in another place—maybe in Shangrila!—then
you are mistaken. You cannot seek reality outside yourself
because you are reality.

Perhaps you think that your life, your reality was made
by society, by your friends. If you think that way you are
far from reality. If you think that your existence, your life
was made by somebody else it means that you are not taking
the responsibility to understand reality.

You have to see that your attitudes, your view of the world,
of your experiences, of your girlfriend or boyfriend, of your
own self, are all the interpretation of your own mind, your
own imagination. They are your own projection, your mind literally
made them up. If you don’t understand this then you have very
little chance of understanding emptiness.

This is not just the Buddhist view but also the experience
of Western physicists and philosophers—they have researched
into reality too. Physicists look and look and they simply
cannot find one entity that exists in a permanent, stable
way: this is the Western experience of emptiness.

If you can imagine that then you will not have any concrete
concepts; if you understand this experience of physicists
then you will let go of your worldly problems—but you
don’t want to understand.

At the energy level there is space and there is body, and
both have the same four elements. There is an interdependence
between these two energies, the one around us and our own
energy.

You check up, analyze: your skin, your bones, your nose,
face are only energy, no more. If you try to separate them
from energy then nothing will be left of your skin, your bones,
your nose, your face. Everything is simply energy. If you
understand the energy level of existence, if you really understand
who you are, what you are in this way then you will break
down your concepts, your uptightness, you will break down
the preconceptions you have of your own self-existence. But
no way! You are always uptight and that is why you have problems.

It seems to me that we twentieth century people are against
nature, against reality, the very opposite of reality. Each
moment we build up our artificial, polluted ego; we cover
ourselves with heavy ego blankets—one, two, ten, one
hundred blankets against nature, against reality.

In industrialized countries we disturb nature, we don’t
appreciate the value of nature. Nature has its own value but
we shake nature, we completely change it, we don’t respect
the harmony of nature. We destroy this harmony because we
don’t communicate with nature.

Modern life the product of the intellectual mind, and we
create it. The intellectual mind is superstition. We don’t
understand reality, and the intellectual life that we live
keeps us far from reality.

So we don’t accept what we are. We are always looking to
cover ourselves with thick blankets and say ‘this is me.’
We hide our own reality and run away from natural beauty,
completely neglecting it. By not touching our reality our
modern life becomes so complicated and we create problems
with our superstitions. We are like a spider spinning his
web, climbing on his thread then falling down; climbing up
again and falling down again. In the same way we build our
own intellectual web, a way of life, that is so complicated,
that doesn’t touch reality, that is so difficult to live in.
This construction arises from our own mind and does not arise
from anything else.

If I told you are nothing, you are zero, that you are nothing
that you think you are, then you would be shocked. ‘What is
this monk saying?’ But what if I say that it is the truth!
In fact you are non duality, non self-existence. You do not
exist, relatively or absolutely, as you think you do. If you
really understood this then you would really gain satisfaction
and peace. But as long as you hold on to the fantasy, concrete
conception of yourself and project this wrong conception onto
your environment, then no way will you understand reality!

In Western cities nowadays, you can see, the older you are
the more problems you have. When we are young, not so many
problems, but then there are drugs and sex, and eventually
they become dissatisfying. Then marriage is dissatisfying,
then more depression, more depression. You can see, this technical
society produces more depressed people than the countryside
does. Countryside people live more naturally.

So as your body becomes bigger and your brain becomes wider,
you have more and more problems and become more and more depressed.
The more money you have the more problems come. You can see
this. It shows we are deluded, polluted, degenerated, that
our life is too intellectual, too covered by wrong conceptions.

You only take care of your body, you never take care of
your mind, and the result of this imbalance is depression.
For most Western people this is the case: only the body is
reality and they don’t care about the existence of the mind,
the soul, the consciousness. They don’t believe they can change
their mind. They can change their nose through an operation
but they don’t believe they change their mind. And when you
believe this then no way can you resolve your depression.

I was really surprised to learn that there was a French
philosopher before the coming of Jesus Christ on this earth
who explained about the consciousness and the body. That the
evolution of the mind was different from the evolution of
the body and that our mind, consciousness is something that
is everywhere, not just localized in the heart or the brain.
This surprised me very much because it is very Buddhist. And
you have forgotten this French philosopher’s declaration,
haven’t you?

Our thoughts, our mind or consciousness is mental energy
and cannot be localized in the body. It cannot be touched,
it has no form and does not travel in time and space. We cannot
touch it or grasp at it.

What is important to understand is that the view you have
of yourself and the view you have of your environment are
based on your own mind: they are a projection of your mind
and that is why they are not reality.

I will give you a good example. When a French man or woman
looks for a girl or boyfriend, there is this research energy
from both sides and when suddenly they see each other they
make up an incredible story. ‘Oh, so beautiful! Nothing wrong
inside or outside.’ They build up a perfect myth. They push
and push, the mind makes it all up. If they are Christian
they say, ‘Oh, he looks just like Jesus.’ Or ‘She looks just
like and angel. She is so nice, so pure. I wish always to
hear her!’ Actually, they are just projecting their own fantasies
onto each other.

If she is Hindu, then he would say, ‘Oh she looks like Kali,
like Mother Earth, like my universal mother. I hope to always
be near her. She will teach me who I am and where I am going.
Each time I see her, my whole body shakes. I am sure that
it must be incredible karma! And because it is our karma I
have to serve her, to accept!’ You understand? Actually, you
are making the karma at that moment, you are inventing it.
Of course, you do have some connection, but….

And if you are Buddhist you fold your hands and say, ‘Oh,
she is a dakini and she is showing me the true nature of all
thing.’ You understand? ‘When I am near her she gives me energy,
energy. Before, I was so lazy, I couldn’t move, I was like
a dead person. But now whenever I go near her I can’t believe
my energy!’ I tell you, all this is superstitious interpretation.
You think that she is your spiritual friend and that before
you were not so clear and that now she speaks to you about
dharma and everything becomes clearer. And all she does is
really perfect, even her kaka and pipi are so pure! Excuse
me, perhaps i shouldn’t talk like this—I’m a Buddhist
monk! But when we speak about Buddhism, about reality, then
we have to speak practically from daily life, about what is
earthy, what we can touch and see, not just get caught up
in concepts.

What I mean is this: you should recognize how every appearance
in our daily life is in fact a false projection of your own
mind. Your own mind makes it up and becomes an obstacle to
touching reality. This is why, our entire life, no matter
what kind of life we have, it is a disaster. If you have a
rich life, your life is a disaster. If you have a middle class
life, your life is a disaster. Of you have a poor life, your
life is even more of a disaster! You become a monk and your
life is a disaster. You become a nun and your life is a disaster.
If you become a Christian, your life is a disaster. If you
become a Hindu, your life is a disaster. If you become a a
Buddhist, your life is a disaster. If you become a Muslim,
your life is also a disaster.

Be honest. Be honest with yourself!

Even if you go to a cave, disaster! You can stay in a mountain
cave, in the snowy mountains, and still you carry your ego
with you. You carry your entire world with you and all your
fantasy clothing doesn’t help.

I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about personal
things, who we are, what we are, where
we are going, what we are doing! I am disaster,
my mind is making it. Everything is always with me, always
with me, my attitudes poison me. That is what I am
talking about.

All this religion you follow… as long as you don’t touch
reality in yourself, as long as you don’t eradicate your fantasies,
you are a disaster. (Now I am disaster hot!)

In fact, reality is very simple. The simplicity of the mind
can touch reality, and meditation is something that goes beyond
the intellect and brings the mind into its natural state.

We have this pure nature already, this reality exists in
us now, it is born with us. Of course, I’m not saying that
having this pure nature means you are Buddha or God already:
that is not what I’m saying.

There are two interpretations possible about this pure nature.

Our consciousness or our soul are conventionally not contaminated,
not really, absolutely contaminated or polluted by our fantasy.
And our consciousness can be compared to the sky that is temporarily
covered by clouds: the pure nature of our mind can be temporarily
covered by our fantasy-ego. Our fantasy-ego is like clouds,
sometimes black, heavy; sometimes a little bit of white comes,
sometime yellow clouds, sometimes red. Eventually, they all
pass and disappear.

What I am saying is that the essence of your consciousness,
your truth, your soul is not absolutely negative, it does
not have an essentially negative character. Our mind is like
the sky and our problems of ego grasping and self pity are
like clouds. You should not believe ‘I am my ego,
I am my problems, therefore I cannot solve my problems.’
WRONG!

You can see. Sometime we are so clear in our life, we are
almost radiating. We can have this experience RIGHT NOW. NOW!

So it is wrong to think that we are always a disaster; not
true. Sometimes we are clean-clear, sometimes we are disaster.
So, stay in meditation, just keep in that clean-clear state
as much as possible. All of us can have this clean-clear state
of mind, we can have it.

I will give you an example. You will notice that most of
the time when we first wake up our mind is clear. Why? Because
we are not yet influenced by the artificial intellectual pollution
of our thoughts. This is why we advise meditation in the morning.
When you sleep, all your rubbish problems and disaster thinking
just naturally go into an unconscious state, into clean-clear
consciousness. Just naturally the senses close and there is
no more grasping at sense objects. This is why sleep is sometimes
very good, especially if you are restless and full of fantasy
and garbage thoughts in the mind. It is a natural thing, sleep.
The functioning of a human being is something so natural.

The tantric teachings of Tibetan Buddhism explain that at
death time also you experience this reality. And it is complete
bliss, it is the best experience of your life and the highest
experience of reality. You have heard about this clear light?
It is the highest experience of reality.

Why? Why is death the highest experience? Why is life not
the highest experience? Because our life-mind is full of intellectualizing,
full of thinking, full of speculation, full of fantasies.
But at the time of death fantasies naturally stop, the gross
I naturally stops. Our nose and mouth and ears, our six consciousnesses,
naturally stop. These consciousness, these busy fantasy resources
are packed away into the soul, the clear light consciousness,
and this becomes like our own nuclear energy that everything
else has completely gone into. This is the natural, absolutely
natural explanation of the human being.

With meditation we can change the inner flow of our energy,
we can change bad times, that time, this time, we can release
our emotions.

Actually, maybe this is the moment to meditate. My feeling
is to meditate now. So close your eyes, don’t think ‘I am
meditating,’ just close your eyes and whatever view is there,
whatever vision is there in your mind just be aware.
Don’t interpret good, bad. Just be like a light, your consciousness
is like a light and light doesn’t think ‘I like this, I like
that’; it is just a light. Whatever is in your consciousness,
whatever experience, just be aware, that is all.

Whatever you experience at the moment, whatever color, whatever
appearance is there, just stay aware. Be aware. If it’s black
energy, then that black energy is clean clear. It it’s white
energy, just feel that clean clear state.

Be aware of whatever is happening. No interpretation.
Especially if nothing is coming, believe that this is the
truth, and if nothing is going, that is zero, that is truth,
reality.

Don’t try to hold on to something or to reject something.
Just have intensive awareness.

The entirety of you has the characteristic of space, of
non-duality. This non-duality is your character. Your energy
floats into the space of non-duality. The cosmos energy comes
into your entire body and your body energy goes into the cosmos
energy.

All your egotistic, individualistic views vanish, all interdependent
relationships disappear. Try to actualize this experience.

Therefore Buddha said: there is no dualistic form, there
is no dualistic sound, there is no dualistic smell, there
is no dualistic taste, there is no dualistic touch, there
is no dualistic view, there is no dualistic nose, tongue,
there is no dualistic leg, no dualistic stomach, there is
no dualistic bone, no dualistic heart, no dualistic brain.
All this energy is conventional. At the absolute level there
is only the non-dualistic reality.

So, try to touch this non-dualistic reality. LET GO!

There are no dualistic friends because there is no dualistic
me. There is no dualistic enemy because there is no dualistic
me. There is no dualistic girlfriend because there is no dualistic
me. There is no dualistic boyfriend because there is no dualistic
me.

Therefore, the mind is in an equal state of non-duality.
It is an experience of equality, of harmony, a universal experience,
because all individual objects are just projected by concepts
and superstition.

Experience this total harmony, this total peace. In this
state there is no more pleasure, no more suffering. Everything
is simply a projection of the human mind.

So, now we dedicate with prayers: May all sentient beings
discover that all the appearances of their ego are projections
of their mind. Whatever self-existent thoughts, whatever concrete
concepts of objects, whatever fears they have, may they discover
them to be mental projections and also may the nature of the
mind be recognized as non-dual.

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