Great Atisha, Motorcycles and Your Mind
Where does the courage to examine your own mind come from? At what point did you feel strong enough to peek…“Ew I don’t like that about myself. I see anger here.” You lift up the cover, “Oh I see jealousy. I don’t like that.” Perhaps at that point you put the cover down and pretended it not exist so on the outside you can still be the sweet person and inside you have all of this anger hidden. Other strategies need to compensate also. You cannot come into contact with potential objects of anger or jealousy. Since you and your nemesis cousin rarely meet you remain like strangers. Like that you might go through life. Don’t do that! It’s not even being alive. It is a fake kind of life.
When we continue meditation practice we learn that everything not just love and light. Progress happens by our own efforts and courage to expose our self, like a kind of self-anarchy. There are anarchists with bombs wanting to blow up the world, but who wants to expose themselves? Who wants to expose the rascal? Nobody wants to expose the rascal, but bodhisattvas do! There are stories of great meditators who turn upon themselves shouting, “Aha! Now I’ve got you! (Breathes heavily) Don’t you move” (laughter). And they point at their own noses.
Like that, they have courage to expose their weakness so they can work with it. This is what bodhisattvas do. This is what the enlightened do. Even enlightened beings are working in this same way. When great Atisha, an enlightened being, was on his way to Tibet, it is said he experienced a negative thought toward the potential success of his work in Tibet. He was the holder of the lineage of compassion affiliated with Tibet. What does he do but jump down off of his horse, sit down and talk to himself. He corrected his own behavior so that he could be alive again.
Have the courage to do self-examination turn by turn. This means your aspiration must be sought, defined and brought to life. Just because you do not have strong aspiration doesn’t mean you cannot get it! It would be foolish to say, “Oh I don’t really have that much aspiration. I think I’ll give up now.” No! What you do is jump-start aspiration. You take the energy from some place else that is useless. Remove the energy from hopeless, stupid, useless situations and inject it into your aspiration. This is your life; this present moment is the only time that you are alive! You are not alive in the past; you are alive in the present. Remove your strictures and inject your life force into the aspiration to achieve the enlightened state. Then you come alive.
So you have aspiration fully ready. Just like old-fashioned motorcycles with a foot pedal, you take your foot and you go poom! That is your aspiration pushing toward engaging behavior. Now your motor is going, you actually doing something about it. And turn-by-turn you gather your aspiration and put it into stronger aspiration. Then you are doing something about it. Otherwise it is just like vanilla pudding – it just lies there. You know, pudding always seeks its own level. Your energy should not be like that. Not in my tradition, but there are some techniques that teach you to have a smooth level where you are not being aroused; nothing can get to you. That in it self is not bad, but if energy is just lying there like a pool of vanilla pudding this is not the kind of energy that I mean. More like a magnet around metal filings that are caused to arise like- vvoooooo and wherever the magnet goes…your mind can be alert like that toward awakening.
When the opportunity comes for entering enlightenment, it is so dramatic that every fiber of your being is attracted to the enlightened state. Then your freedom, your liberation, your enlightenment is not far away. Do not be afraid to rise up aspiration as much as possible and then go farther than that. There is no maximum on your aspiration and you can do it. You can do it, you can do it!