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3 Ways For Finding Inner Peace And Refuge

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3 Ways For Finding Inner Peace And Refuge

Awaken Your Luminous Mind
Tenzin Wangyal  Rinpoche
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche More by this author
Feb 19, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Our ordinary experience offers us three opportunities to transform our lives and for finding the inner peace, joy, and liberation from suffering that we all wish for. Since our confusion is expressed through our body, our speech, and our mind, these three places also offer opportunities to dispel that confusion. The three areas of body, speech, and mind are referred to as the three doors. As I explain in my book, Awakening The Luminous Mind, by shifting our attention in specific ways—away from the expression of pain and toward the release of that pain—we enter these doorways to discover the gifts of openness, awareness, and warmth.

There are three ways in which you will learn to shift attention away from suffering: 

1. While directing attention to the pain body, you are instructed to feel the stillness of the body.
2. While directing attention to pain speech, you connect with hearing the silence.
3. While you direct your attention to the pain mind, or the moving mind, the instruction is to recognize and connect with spaciousness.

In these ways, it is possible to find a deep place of stillness, silence, and spaciousness. These three doorways lead to accessing important places of protection and refuge.

It Is Necessary To Experience Your Discomfort In Order To Shift It
Many people find it difficult to become aware of the space of being itself rather than simply being aware of the sensations they are feeling, the inner dialogue they are having, or the contents of the moving mind altogether. What kind of shift are we describing?

First, it is necessary to open and simply experience your discomfort. Can you be fully open, as the sky is with the clouds? In this analogy, clouds can refer to your thoughts, feelings, sensations, or memories. Does the sky have a problem with the clouds? Is the sky agitated? Does the sky say, “You have been here too long! Why are you still here? What does it mean that you are here?” No. The sky simply allows the presence of clouds, and when the clouds eventually dissipate, the sky does not comment. The sky is not lonely when the clouds leave. Can you be like that sky and host the clouds? If you are able to do that—to be with your pain directly—the pain heals itself: it self-liberates. As your pain or discomfort shifts, it is important to simply remain present and aware of the openness itself.

Ego As A Pain Identity

Each person’s path is unique, and each must be willing to directly experience the sense of limitation and pain as it occurs in body, speech, and mind, and become familiar with turning to the inner refuge to discover the positive benefits that arise in so doing. It is important to recognize that we pay so much attention to ego, to our problem-solving, moving mind. We must recognize ego for what it is—a pain identity. We have a constant dialogue of pain talking to pain, which is what usually guides us or drives us, sometimes driving us crazy. And no matter how smart or sophisticated, ego only operates within the logic of pain, and therefore produces more pain. Perhaps it is time to discover there is something other than ego to turn toward and to trust.

For each of us to heal personal, family, and societal suffering, we need to recognize the habitual reactions that obscure our true nature and block us from living in full relation to our inherent intelligence and capacity. Our habitual reactions to the challenges in life I refer to as the pain body. By using the word body, I am not only referring to the physical body with its tensions, aches, constrictions, and illnesses, but to our sense of identity altogether, our sense of “I” or “me.” This pain body is who you feel and think you are in any given moment.

From this sense of “I” develops pain speech, which articulates the distress of separation. Sometimes this distress can be felt as restless, upward-moving sensations in the chest, throat, and breath, and often it emerges outwardly in speech, or inwardly as inner dialogue. It can be as simple as a sigh or as elaborate as habitual negative self-talk that accompanies us through our sleeping and waking hours, often unrecognized for the damage it does in reinforcing our pain identity.

As human beings we are storytellers. The pain mind involves the imagination of ego, the story that is woven of thoughts and images that may appear intelligent, but fail to recognize the truth of the fundamental separation from our essential nature. Our stories can delight and amuse as well as shock and horrify us. But we are not our stories. And no matter how smart or sophisticated the storyteller is, the pain mind cannot liberate us from the suffering we experience.

You Are Bigger Than What You Are Feeling 
What does liberate suffering? The moment you have some glimpse that you are bigger than what you are thinking or feeling is a healing moment. In such a moment, the false sense of “I” begins to lose its grip. Through meditation, noticing this dissolution of a solid self is encouraged by drawing your attention to the sense of being itself, rather than to a given momentary reaction. The moment that false sense of “I” starts to dissipate, you begin to feel different. If you trust in the space that opens up, you can discover a deeper support than the reactivity of your ego. This deeper support is the inner refuge, and this is your protection. To take full advantage of the challenges in our life so that they become the doorways to healing and positive development, we need to discover where to look. Go to stillness, go to silence, go to spaciousness. 

About Author
Tenzin Wangyal  Rinpoche
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is an acclaimed author and highly respected teacher to students around the world. He is renowned for his depth of wisdom; his clear, engaging teaching style; and his ability to make ancient Tibetan teachings highly accessible Continue reading