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Lions Roar : September 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2013 47 Someone once asked the Dalai Lama, “Do you ever get angry?” He laughed and replied, “Of course! Things happen. They aren’t what you wanted. Anger arises.” He paused and chuckled. “But,” he continued, “it does not have to be a problem.” What I understood him to mean is that the momentary constriction that blurs the mind when anger arises is quickly eased by the wisdom that anger is a normal neuronal reaction to displeasure, and not a mandate for any response other than clarity and kindness. I find that when my mind is contented it is able to assess my experience accurately. I think of it like seeing through plastic wrap. If it’s smooth, I can see through it clearly. If the plastic I am looking through is scrunched up—imagine rum- pling a sheet of Saran Wrap into your fist and then using it semi-unfolded as a lens—I’ll see distorted images and quite possibly misinterpret them. So as challenges arise in my daily life, I try to stay alert to any sense of my mind “scrunching up.” I feel it as tension, often as an invisible form of my brow furrowing, sometimes as a hint that the muscles in my upper arms have tight- ened. I think to myself, “Remember, Sylvia. Be happy. Relax. Take a breath. Smooth out your mind before you do or say anything.” I think this practice has substantially improved my life. I upset myself less. I make more wholesome decisions and less inept, impulsive ones. Sometimes, when I see my mind about to leap to an inept response and I catch it in time, I honestly feel, “Whew!” SYLVIA BOORSTEIN’s most recent book is Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life. The Remedy for Self-Cherishing You only have one real problem, says DZIGAR KONGTRUL RINPOCHE. Here’s how to solve it. There can be many different reasons why we are dissatisfied with ourselves, but they all really come down to one problem: self-cherishing. Self-cherishing—always putting ourselves first—has a sleazy quality that gnaws at our heart and prevents us from feeling true peace. The remedy for self-cherishing is to extend our love. When we extend the love we naturally have for ourselves to include all beings, we feel our heart being cleansed from inside out. We can relax our painful self-cherishing and strengthen our love for all beings by making this prayer: “May all sentient beings be happy, may all sentient beings have a meaningful life, may all sentient beings have the great satisfaction that they desire.” As we pray in this way, our love for one singular being—our- selves—is replaced by a universal love for all sentient beings. Notice that our love has not been altered or reduced, but it has simply been extended to include all beings. We can feel this love dissolve the self-clinging that has been gnawing at us. We begin to view all sentient beings as ourselves and a genuine love for others is born. We experience a sense of true wholesomeness and peace in the place of self-attachment. DZIGAR KONGTRUL RINPOCHE is the founder of Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to furthering the wisdom and practice of the Longchen Nyingtik lineage. His most recent book is Light Comes Through: Buddhist Teachings on Awakening to Our Natural Intelligence.