Change our thoughts, liberate our self

lotus botannical gardensIn this article I was talking about changing our thoughts to get past the grasping at an uncomfortable, limited self. We can also do some Tantric thinking at this point to effectively and quickly (once we’re used to it) re-generate or re-label ourselves and solve our problem.

Who needs validation?

I found myself in the odd situation not that long ago of having my hitherto closest friend stop calling me. It got me to thinking on more than one occasion that I’d like them to call me and show their appreciation, if indeed they have any left, which of course they may not.

And when I got to thinking like this, I viewed it as a challenge to look at that limited self that needs validation. And because it was an exaggerated sense of self, it was ironically easier to spot and therefore dissolve away into emptiness.

Do I want them to call my body? Do I want them to call my mind? No, I want them to call ME! And that me appears independent of my body and mind, as if it can exist all on its own. So where is it? Where is that me that needs someone to call it? Is it my body? No. That me is nowhere to be found anywhere in my meaty body, my meaty body cannot converse for a start. Is it my mind? No. I am not a mind, I have a mind. Is it then the collection of body and mind? No. That’s just a collection of things that are not-me – a whole bunch of not-me’s plonked together does not magically make a me.

So this neglected me, or self, cannot be found; it doesn’t exist. My sense of it is just an invisible (to everyone else) idea I have of me, and not even one I can see most of the time. And it only functions when I do hold onto it – when I let it go through wisdom, I’m immediately free from the problem of being unloved.

Vajrayogini in phenomena source
Buddha Vajrayogini

From there I can come up with a new rather more interesting idea of me – generate myself as a Buddha and ask the question: Does Buddha Shakyamuni need this person to call him? No. Does Je Tsongkhapa wonder why they never call? No, never. Does Manjushri care a whit? No, not even slightly. Does Vajrapani? You kidding?! And what about Vajrayogini? She doesn’t give a monkeys.

It works every time. So-called “pure view” and “divine pride” solve all our problems quickly. As Ven Geshe Kelsang says in Tantric Grounds and Paths p. 14:

If instead of clinging to an ordinary identity we were to overcome ordinary conceptions by developing the divine pride of being Heruka or Vajrayogini, we would not develop fear, anxiety, or any other negative state of mind. How can anyone harm Heruka? How can Vajrayogini run out of money?

If I don’t need any more from others, this frees me up to try and give them what they might need, if they ever want it. And instead of wasting my energy trying to fulfill the needs of my limited self, which necessarily leads me to neglecting countless other living beings (some of whom might actually like my attention), and is rather like trying to fill a black hole, I can replace that attachment with compassion and have a rich life, like a sun radiating endlessly.

Which brings us back to the Mahamudra meditation, which greatly helps us to dissolve away our thoughts in the first place so we can recreate our world. There is nothing behind our thoughts.

Tripsy the Dog

When we get used to this meditation we’ll see that where our mind was full, we’ll begin to sense the space in our mind – which really helps us solve our problems. Usually we get a thought in our head and we cannot let it go. Totally wound up and bound up and controlled by that situation that we have created for ourselves, and the more we think about it the crazier we get, like a dog grappling with a bone.

dog with boneYou ever tried to get a dog away from a bone once it is really into it?! I had a Doberman-mix called Tripsy when I was 8, he was our guard dog in Guyana, theoretically; but the problem was that he had no discrimination between intruders and friendlies, and would instead bite everyone. Everyone, that is, apart from me, as he liked me a lot. Except, and here’s my point, except when I tried to take his bone away from him. I always had to snatch my hand back just in time, it was a strangely exhilarating game I invented (no TV back then.)

My father got fed up paying for people’s stitches (well, it happened once, but it was enough) and Tripsy got sent off to the countryside.

Our mind can be a bit like Tripsy the dog – it has gotten used to grabbing onto this situation or that problem in this way, shaking it all about, doesn’t really want to let it go, and may even snap at someone who tries to get us to see things differently. We have this idea, “This is my problem, I have to solve it, nothing will be right until this is sorted” – instead of dropping the bone and walking away.

This meditation is not about pushing a problematical thought out of our mind, but dropping it — just dropping it — and relaxing into the natural clarity and space of our own mind, letting everything dissolve. If we can do this, almost all our problems truthfully disappear. When we go about our daily life again, we find that our ways of letting go 8thinking about things have changed, we are grasping less, and so we are experiencing far less mental pain and anxiety. We always have things to take care of, sometimes very challenging things; but our approach will feel so different if we allow ourselves to let go sometimes and just experience the natural clarity and purity of our own mind.

Incredible peace comes from a settled mind. When we quieten our mind, our natural capacity for feeling good manifests naturally from within. We don’t need to be a dog with a bone week after week, life after life. Knowing that space can solve problems is a very useful insight for daily life.

More coming soon.

Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

21 thoughts on “Change our thoughts, liberate our self”

  1. Lovely Luna,
    Have to keep repeating,there is no me,there is no me,only clear light space 🙏🏻😊

  2. I so needed to hear this👌. Thank You 🙏.
    Need to really let go of self cherishing and grasping. The main cause of suffering.

  3. Thanks so much Luna. I read your article at the right time. I have a long time friend (since junior high) who no longer returns my calls. I am in my 40s. It was making me feel really bad and as if I am not good enough for her anymore. I have been having a hard time of letting go of the emotional impact. It feels as though I am no longer accepted by this friend and I really need to somehow liberate myself from feeling worthless. I know I need to let go of my grasping and drop it. It is a heavy weight to carry. Thank you Luna for helping me and others to obtain inner peace and happiness. Happy New Year to you!

    1. I’m very glad i could be of help — it does hurt to feel rejected, but we can change that sense of self and not feel at all rejected any more, freeing us up just to love them unconditionally. Buddhas after all have to love all of us unconditionally, we are not that good at staying in touch and appreciating them either 🙂

  4. Hi Luna I just wanted to say thank you for these great posts. They are really helpful and lovely positive things to find in my email for a change! Please keep them coming. Love Mark

    Mark McDonnell Content Works 01637 850700 07557 509789


  5. I have the same problem and try to practice non attachment, will try your method seems good idea, thank you 😊

  6. From what I understand, Heruka and Vajrayogini and company get superb reception , never any dropouts, and are on t-h-e most awesome plan. Plus, they never disconnect. So we can know that, in fact, someone is always on the line. (BTW, try telling your mundane service provider that you don’t actually exist and see how that shakes out).

    Thanks. A little Sunday afternoon self-dissolving never hurts.

  7. As usual, very clear and inspiring easily digestible dharma, for Modern Buddhists. This article reminded me of a poem I wrote recently:

    I’ll Stop Being Me

    I’ll stop being me
    Just for you
    Just for you
    I’ll be somebody new

    I’ve been seeing wrong
    For such a long time
    I have been deaf
    And I have been blind
    Thinking of ‘me’
    Thinking of ‘mine’
    Singing my
    Existential whine

    It’s time to stop
    Just for you
    Today I’ll be
    Somebody new

    Sean Hunt
    Windermere, Nov 3rd 2015

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