Encompass Emptiness! :)

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Our mind needs to stretch to encompass emptiness. Our minds are so stuck in the idea, “Things exist the way they appear to me. What I see is reality. It is 100 percent true. There’s nothing to doubt. Things exist exactly as they appear to my senses, exactly as they appear to my mental consciousness.” We hardly ever doubt that. Not only do we have the appearance of inherent existence to our sense consciousnesses and mental consciousness, but also our mental consciousness grasps on to that appearance and says, “Yes! Everything really exists in this findable, independent way. Everything is real as it appears to me.”

When we believe there’s a real “me,” then we have to protect that self and bring it happiness. Thus, we are attached to things that are pleasurable and become angry at anything unpleasant. Pride, jealousy, laziness, and the whole gamut of negative emotions follow. Motivated by these, we act physically, verbally, and mentally. These actions, or karma, leave seeds on our mindstream, and when these ripen, they influence what we experience. We again relate to these experiences ignorantly, so more emotions arise, motivating us to create more karma. As a result, cyclic existence with all its difficulties continues on and on, created by our mind, dependent on the ignorance that misconceives the nature of ourselves and all other phenomena.

…However, when we investigate more deeply and look beyond appearances, we realize that it’s impossible for things to exist in the way they appear. Seeing this gives us a kind of spaciousness and freedom because, if samsara were inherently existent and everything really did exist the way it appears to us, then transformation and change could not occur…and the best we could ever have is what we have right now. Thinking about the emptiness of inherent existence shows us the possibility for change. Beauty can come forth because nothing is inherently concrete, fixed, or findable.(p.105)

–from Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig by Thubten Chodron

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