Search for Truth (part six)

From the previous column it was said that angst can become a generalized frustration or anger about life and specifically stressful because of not being able to do what we want. That is why this energy needs to be directed or channeled carefully so that we do not move into the dysfunctional next step of blaming others. We so often hold others responsible for our lack of time or life situation, or complain that others are preventing us from being a spiritual seeker or truth seeker.

We might view people at work that seem to be thwarting us or we become sorry that we have no time because we have to earn a living. It becomes all the fault of others. This can accumulate and we can forget exactly what it was that we were trying to do, namely, break free. This can lead to the uncomfortable situation and its accompanying feelings self replicating into habitual bad moods. Caught up in our feelings of blaming and the objects of that blame, we can lose sight of our actual inner process interacting with our own mind. It becomes externalized when the obstacles are actually internal.

In addition, once we are blaming others, even if favorable situations arise, we might not be able to make a beneficial change. We might not make the right decisions because we are energetically disturbed at that point, not able to think clearly or resonate inside carefully as described earlier. In addition, because of energetic disturbance we could become fatigued or depressed, and give up struggling to know truth. I think this is a fairly common story.

We might feel even more anxiety as we get older and time is shorter toward the end of life and perhaps we still have not gotten any closer to discovering this important truth. We almost certainly expected to establish a strong connection to truth of reality at a very young age and live our whole life as an aware person. For many, first the gray hairs are coming, and still we might not feel any closer to knowing the nature of reality than when we made the decision. This produces another kind of stress and we might actually change the way we think about ourselves.

Changing from blaming others, I might now decide that the blame actually belongs with me and that I do not deserve to hold truth about the nature of reality. Some might punish themselves for not having achieved their potential. In this way, the benefits of anxiety that they might feel, which started out in a healthy way to encourage change can become destructive. Some folks might even get angry at truth because it eludes them, such as in stories we hear about people becoming angry with God. Eventually, again they could become tired as the anxiety exhausts them; they become depressed and give up.

Another important issue facing busy Western people is the stress experienced just from daily living taking the very best part of life. They are expected to go to work and produce money for the company or maybe it is car parts they are stamping out in a factory. We are all expected to produce it very carefully and with a good motivation. However, when you look at it another way, you might say, "They are getting the best bits of my whole life, the tastiest bits. In the morning before I go to work and at night when I come home from work, I only get the leftovers! I'm tired of it!" Stress from everyday living can wear you down and make you even less capable of sustaining concentration on this important search that you promised to yourself.

Some people will not tolerate it and make an abrupt change at this point and are delighted to throw off the stress of everyday life and dive into a life of renunciation and spiritual practice. They are happy to be rid of the thorn of stress from ordinary daily life. Some choose to seek freedom by making decisions such as taking ordination vows or entering into a reclusive lifestyle to spend the rest of their life meditating and praying. It still happens even in the modern day. They will not tolerate it anymore; the cost in valuable life is not worth it.

They decide to seek truth and know reality by making promises, not like a New Years kind of promise, but strong, active promises, deep promises that they are going to seek freedom. This time they make an energetic promise to themselves. Some, by receiving vows such as bodhichitta vows to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings ensure that this time the power of the promise is embedded into their very being. To be continued…..


  1. that note is so interesting... I like it...


  2. Very interesting- quite sad that people are encouraged by western society that working so much in an attempt to seek happiness is "normal."

    Also good that an alternative exists- although, sometimes distractions are nice:)


  3. Thank you, Rinpoche. This hits very close to home for me. Thank you for your great wisdom and understanding of the conditions that I and many others are in.
    Pema Lhamo

  4. "I only get the leftovers! I'm tired of it!" is very good food for thought.
    Thank you Rinpoche. Very well stated. With gratitude and blessings,

    Luanne Thulstrup


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