Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath
We have to recognize the nature of fear before we can experience fearlessness. We cannot simply run away from fear. We have to get close to it. We have to be intimate with it. Fear does not arise without cause. If we understand the nature of fear, we can move beyond it. We have to be patient and give everything some space.
Everyone has personal views. However, when you become attached to your view, you become very rigid, like plywood that will not bend. This disturbs your sense of equilibrium, and you lose your sense of humor. You no longer have control of your view; rather, your view has control of you. It would be analogous to a man loving his girlfriend so obsessively that she feels compelled to run away from him. He becomes far too close due to his loneliness, insecurity, and fear.
The Buddha taught us that the highest view is to be free from all views. This supreme view will not remain with those who are insecure or fearful. This view will not stay with those who are territorial. This view is confident and complete in its own place. There is nothing that is outside the perimeter of this view. Those who understand this all-encompassing view are always fearless. Due to the fact that this view is complete in its own place, it does not need any manipulation. This is the profound view.
This view is very naked and direct. Because it is so naked, like a live electric wire without insulation, you have to be cautious. You know what will happen if you touch it carelessly. If you are skillful and know how to handle the wire, you can harness its power and enjoy an abundance of light. In our tradition, it is taught that raw thoughts and emotions must be handled with awareness and skill. Otherwise, there is a real danger that we will hurt ourselves and others through careless and coarse indulgence.
Many of us are afraid to get close to this wire. We try to escape, rather than learning how to work with its power. There is an abundant supply of electricity, but not so many electricians. There may be many who are intrigued by this view, but only a fortunate few who learn how to benefit from it. If you are not interested in learning how to harness this power, do not be too hard on yourself. It’s okay. One can take a more gradual approach. There is a time and place for everything.
Everything we perceive, think, and feel emanates from this wide-open view. This is the fearless view. This view is absolutely unbiased. It is completely free from discrimination. We tend to think that we are better than others. We fabricate a hierarchy in our minds and place ourselves on the highest tier. This sort of bias does not exist at the beginning; it comes afterward. In timeless purity, there is no corruption and no judgment.
Light and warmth radiate from the sun. As the sun shines on the earth, it does so without discrimination, equally illuminating all. But if we lack the proper view, we might blame the sun for not being bright enough or warm enough. Perhaps the sun is too low in the sky or there are too many dark clouds. But the sun is always radiating, whether we can see its light or not. This is the absolute view. This eternally brilliant light exists within every individual. The wisdom that exists within you is the best teacher. This self-arising awareness is your ultimate friend and your dearest companion.
This wisdom is always pure, and this purity brings freedom. There is fearlessness in this basic purity. It is like a lotus flower. Although it is planted in the mud, the flower is always free of stain. It draws nourishment from the mud but is never tainted by the mud. When it blossoms, it is spotless and radiant. It is completely free from the mire that surrounds it. You do not have to reject what you have or start over. Just remain in the mud and grow. Draw on its moisture and nutrients for energy.
Within this purity, everything is accomplished and complete. We can develop unwavering confidence in this view. Wherever there is mind, there is the potential for actualizing this unblemished view. We can share our warmth and kindness with everyone ”” there is more than enough space in this primordial purity. This view is not narrow or limited in any way; it is vast and expansive. So we can explore, and we can look far beyond our limited views. Then we have the ultimate view, and there will be fearlessness in every moment of our lives.
Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche is the spiritual guide of Shyalpa Monastery in Kathmandu, the founder of the Tibetan Refugee ChildrenÊ¼s Fund, and the heard of Ranging Yeshe, Inc., a nonprofit that organizes teachings and retreats throughout the United States. He lives in Nepal and New York. shyalparinpoche.org