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Lions Roar : September 2017
will spare us from having to deal with such things as loneliness, disappointment, despair, terror, or disintegration. Yet anyone who has been married for a long time probably has some knowledge of the charnel ground quality of rela- tionships—corpses all over the place, and jackals and vultures roaming about looking for the best piece of flesh. Trungpa Rinpoche suggests that if we can work with the “raw and rugged situation” of the charnel ground, “then some spark or sympathy or compassion, some giving in or opening can begin to take place. The chaos that takes place in your neurosis is the only home ground that you can build the mandala of awakening on.” This last sentence is a powerful one, for it suggests that awak- ening happens only through facing the chaos of our neurotic patterns. Yet this is often the last thing we want to deal with in relationships. While loving connection provides a glimpse of the gold that lies within, we continually corrupt it by turning it into a commodity, a magical charm to make us feel okay. All the delu- sions of romantic love follow from there. Focusing on relationship as a spiritual or emotional “fix” actually destroys the possibility of finding deep joy, true ease, and honest connection with another. From the tantric yogi’s perspective, the charnel ground is an ideal place to practice, because it is right at the crossroads of life. It’s where birth and death, fear and fearlessness, impermanence and awakening unfold right next to each other. Chitipati, Tibet, nineteenth century LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2017 63