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Lions Roar : March 2006
When we're consumed by negative emotions, the practice is not to try to eradicate them. Rather than looking at negativity top down, we look at it bottom up, as if it were clouds in the sky. Jealousy, blame, complaint, ambition, fear-we take these as our view, until we remember they're just signs of hesitation and doubt: small mind cluttering the space of big mind. With intel- ligence and confidence, we can connect with that moment of dis- covery and cultivate its potential by seeing through the clouds and relaxing into big mind. True relaxation suggests a deep underlying confidence in our enlightened nature. We do not have to manipulate, because we trust who we are. In an argument with a coworker, instead of trying to outwit them, we use our energy to gather our breath, relax, and remember the inherent goodness of ourselves and others. With this deep level of relaxation, we are settling into the Buddha's territory, seeing the world through enlightened eyes. Confidence in this place quells negativity naturally. There's no- where for negativity to grow. When we practice like this, we see that sadness and joy are two sides of the same coin. In any situation, we can doubt our enlight- enment, which makes our mind smaller and more fixed. Anger, im- patience, and anxiety-all are telltale signs that we're slipping from the view of big mind. We feel the need to manipulate and convince, complain, and cajole. Do we always need to get the last word in? This brings tears. Or we can have confidence in our enlightenment, which expands our mind and keeps it flexible. This brings joy. 18 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2006 A mind relaxed enough to trust the boundlessness of its inher- ent wisdom and compassion is no longer fooled into thinking that getting the best parking spot, winning every argument, or con- stantly finding faults in others is going to bring happiness. When we're practicing from nine to five, we can laugh at how hard we try to hold on to our speed and hassle. When we encounter another person, we can let our buddha qualities shine through. Instead of crying and complaining, we can laugh and offer kind words. We do not have to tell half- truths to build confidence, because we have confidence in the whole truth. Our eyes are opening to the myriad ways that inherent joy and enlightenment are here. We may entertain the idea that we have the qualities of the Buddha at our fingertips, but without motivation and practice, they will seem as far away as an unattainable horizon. In nine- to- five practice our discipline is remembering that they are always available as alternatives to aggression and greed. Every time we employ the qualities of generosity, patience, and equanimity, we are making our mind bigger and convincing ourselves of our own buddhahood. We can all be buddha driving the car, buddha getting morning coffee, buddha shaking hands at the day's first meeting, buddha at the bank. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we can let our light shine through. . SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE is spiritual director of Shambhala, an international network of meditation and retreat centers. His new book is Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies for Modern Life.