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Lions Roar : March 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2011 22 we feel as if we can be no other way. in meditation practice, we have no real intention of stabilizing our mind, generating kind- ness, or discovering our inherent goodness. Socially, we have no desire to meet new people or experience new things. therefore, just as bravery is a state of being, cowardliness is a state of being. We actually feel like we are simply being, but because it involves tremendous deception, we are only fooling ourselves. the third is deception itself. deception has become our game plan. We might even take a perverse thrill in it. While a feeling of embarrassment may mark the previous excuses, this one is tinged with pride. it takes on an intellectual twist, whereas being cowardly is more emotional, and speaking with a double tongue is slightly more paranoid. deception indicates some cleverness. it has a hint of inscrutability. thus we attract other people with similar intellectual deceptiveness. these self-deceptive patterns allow us to hide in any experi- ence. for example, we can use our religious belief as a place to hide. rather than becoming more compassionate and consider- ate, we contort the doctrine into a veil to support our narcissism. We can use any religion to perpetuate deception when we are not relating to its deeper principles. or we can hide in a scientific black hole. Because we feel un- comfortable, especially in the body, we try to have a sense of be- ing in the mind. Since science in general relates to two areas—the micro level and the macro level—we are therefore always in an- other dimension. We have not learned how to be. in science there is a tendency to relate to nihilism. therefore, to be brave is to relate to the manifest quality of goodness that is imperceptible, hard to locate, and impossible to measure—but is nonetheless absolutely necessary if one is to engage in life fully. We can also engage in deception at the kitchen-sink level, where cooking, cleaning, and parenthood become a form of escape. When layered with a self-engrossed pride in staying busy, these worthy but mundane aspects of life shelter us from a greater sense of bravery. an obvious form of deception is relying on drugs, alcohol, and other stimuli. this indicates the basic inability to relate with our minds, and thus with our lives. We feel high and good, but we are not moving forward. this form of deception can penetrate all walks of life, keeping us hibernating in a certain cowardly at- titude. eventually we have to be brave, sober up, and move on. deception is not a sign that we have karmic difficulties. rather, it indicates a lack of honesty and insight. Constantly seeking a high in a desperate search for love or some fantastic new experi- ence, we lack bravery regarding our lives. trying to avoid bore- dom, pain, hard work, aging, and other traits of samsara and Being cowardly is similar to being lazy. We feel as if we can be no other way, and have no desire to experience new things. impermanence, we lack bravery regarding the reality of the world. tricking ourselves into thinking we are having various medi- tation experiences because we are unable to sit with the simplicity of our mind, we lack bravery regarding the fathomlessness of our own being. in all these cases, decep- tion is the result of a general state of cow- ardice, which indicates a lack of strength. it keeps us from relating to things in a forthright, steady way. in reality, life is perpetual motion. We cannot apply the slow-motion feature, or push the “save” button and deal with it later. Life is always coming at us, or more accurately, we are always heading into life. Being hesitant, not approaching life engaged in forwardness, has a ripple effect. Life buckles behind us and builds up pressure, forcing us to move forward. With cowardice, we are then forced to deal with issues at an accelerated rate, beyond what is comfortable or convenient. the Shambhala vision is that human beings possess basic goodness, and there- fore, like birds, are designed to move for- ward. in an interesting twist of logic, the teachings tell us that in order to always be journeying forward, we must first turn back to our origin: the primeval ground of basic goodness. that reverse journey begins with the steadiness and forthright- ness we apply in our meditation. here we become familiar with bravery free of de- ception—no hidden corners in our mind or our life. Such intimacy with ourselves eventually brings the ability to engage in life without manipulating, glad-handing, or squirming. free of deception, we can move forward on every level—with vision manifesting as bravery. ♦ An obvious form of deception is relying on drugs, alcohol, and other stimuli. Eventually we have to be brave, sober up, and move on.