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Lions Roar : July 2015
I T’S ACTUALLY FINE to be happy and carefree. The more carefree you are from deep within, the better your dharma practice is. Carefree means being wide open from within, not con- stricted. Carefree doesn’t mean careless, that you are sloppy or that you don’t care about others. It’s not like you don’t have compassion or are unfriendly. Carefree is being really simple, from the inside.You need to be relaxed, yet without stupidity. Sometimes people relax like this: (Rinpoche lies back limply with eyes half-closed and a vacant expression). Especially around the swimming pool! You have a swim, then you climb out of the pool and lay down with your hat, sunglasses, and maybe a cold beer. You’re very relaxed, but you’re relaxing into stupidity. You’ve relaxed into a very dull state. The point is to be relaxed and yet very clear. There is no need to create something by meditating, no need to achieve something—simply be very clear. Relaxed and bright. You need to be in charge of yourself. Check yourself out, and if you find you’re missing some qualities, then work to develop them. It doesn’t help to go about with your hands outstretched, trying to obtain good qualities from others. Take charge of yourself. Be happy. Even when it’s not funny, still smile. Think about how much time we put into washing ourselves, freshening up, brushing our teeth, putting on make-up, and so on. It’s just as important to fix up your mind. If your mind is down, pull it up. If you’re flying too high, ground it. Take charge of yourself. Of course you can’t literally wash your mind or comb it. You can’t cut your mind’s nails when they’re too long. But you can be in charge of your attitude; you can take responsibility for your mental and emotional state. In fact, that’s the main point of the Buddhist teachings. Be aware of your own mind. Let it be undisturbed and free of confusion, because only then can you be of help to others. Otherwise, you just remain confused, confusing yourself, and there’s no way to really be of help to anyone else. Don’t get too overexcited about this, either. Just relax, sit upright, and be open—wide open and carefree. The view in the Great Perfec- tion (Dzogchen) tradition is to be totally open and carefree. If we act a little too carefree, that is not so good either. That is called losing the conduct in the view. A lot of people do that. They revolt against a particular culture, against the system, against the establishment—against the fixed habits of this world. They shave off half their hair, or half their beard, or they dress funny, or they wear no clothes at all. It’s all a reaction against cultural mores. Sometimes they take drugs and they try to be free in that way. Actually, that’s not being free at all. That is losing the conduct in the view. Once I met a man who wore all his hair pushed up atop his head, had painted it blue, and had half his beard shaved off. I am not saying that he was a bad person; not at all. His behavior was his way of reacting against stereotypes of how we should look. But if you’re carefree and open from within, you can fit in Happy & Carefree We practice in order to liberate ourselves, but we can make ourselves crazy in the process. TSOKNYI RINPOCHE on how to temper your expectations and experience more contentment. SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2015 62