This week we will be beginning the fifth point of the Tibetan Lojong Mind Training: Cultivating Lovingkindness. The section is called Evaluation of Mind Training. There are four slogans in this section. Norman Fisher, in his book Training in Compassion, gives an excellent explanation of the overall direction of this section so I am just going to quote it here:
“If our fourth point was Make practice your whole life, don’t think of it as something extra, this fifth point is the necessary next step. Remember, we are talking about a process of training. That is, envisioning your life as a process of opening and growing rather than simply enduring what happens to you, willy-nilly. If you are going to adopt a practice or training point of view for you life, you will need a way of assessing, of seeing how you are doing as the process unfolds. You will need feedback.”
The first evaluation tool is the slogan All Dharma Agrees At One Point or as Norman says There’s Only One Point. That one point is letting go of the ego. It is the realization of the phrase “this is not me, this is not mine, this is not myself”. We can understand that something is happening but whatever it is; it is not me. We can understand that I have some thing but whatever I have; it is not mine. We can understand that there is a being present and while I am responsible for the conduct (deeds, actions, thoughts and speech) of this being, it is not myself. Everything about this path is ultimately pointing to letting go of our ego.
Learning to investigate our mind-states, our possessiveness, our sense of becoming, or wishing not to become is the greatest tool we have for assessing how we are doing on the path and releasing the ego. Have you ever considered what makes you think you are experiencing an emotion or do you simply assume for are the emotion? Have you ever considered checking-in with how possessive you are with “your stuff”? What would it mean if you lived like the things you possessed were “borrowed”? Finally, what if you knew (not simply hoped) that all your so called “character flaws” were not you at all but rather habits that you could up-root and release if you were willing to pay attention to the conditions that cause them to arise? Would you do it?
We’ll explore this slogan a little more on Thursday. See you then…