And it went on like this for years. I’d fall into bouts of depression because things failed or I was found to have made a big mistake.
I wanted to be the captain of the ship, but I did not want to be held accountable. I wanted to chart my own destiny, but I did not want to be blamed when things go wrong. And that is just for starters.
Would I say that the monster was the real me? Yes, I would. But the monster was just part of me. It was NOT all of me. However, I had to sum up all my courage to DEFINE THAT – separating a monster inside me from taking over all of me.
In life, we go through all kinds of situations. Sometimes, we screw up big time and we fall. But we do not have to stay there, and remain paralysed.
When I was exposed for my “fraud”, I still fought to look innocent and refused to bear the part of my responsibilities. This was how stubborn and self-serving I was. I was more intent for the blame to fall on others. This is how our self-cherishing ego works all the time.
Because I was more interested in pitying myself and feeling sad for myself, my depression became the fuel for the monster to grow even bigger than it already was.
By the time I had the courage to look at myself in the mirror, I could no longer see me. Then, I began to doubt who I was really and what kind of person I was deep inside.
Self-piteous depression is a cold sharp knife with an edge at the tip. The edge is deliberately designed as such so that when the knife plunges into your heart, it’ll rip it apart while pulling out all your insides, leaving nothing unscathed. Well, that is how it felt like, to me.
When we keep bashing ourselves for the wrongs we have done but not spend any time on thinking how to resolve the situation and learn from them, then we will not grow. We will definitely descend further away from our sanity and spirituality.
After the fall, rising was difficult and excruciatingly painful.
Do not be fooled by our own sadness, or depression. Do not be deluded by our own tears. They do not help us in any way to grow and progress further. Really, they do not. All they do is drain us of our energy which should have been invested for better and more positive use – to turn things around.
“We move ahead a few steps, then we go back a few steps…we find it hard to battle the ‘inner demons’ within ourselves fighting all the time…we find the secret struggles never end…it almost seems futile… we find transformation so difficult. Does it get any easier? It doesn’t get easier. The battle never stops. It gets worse and the struggles will bring us down. THAT IS GOOD. If there was no battle, then we know we are on the wrong path. The battle is actually our own efforts….efforts long overdue and weak at this point. Sometimes we fall because most of the time we were down, and now we are starting to get up, as we get up we fall. The fact that we fall, means we are getting up again and again. Remember Buddha under the Bodhi Tree in the last watch of the night, the maras attacked Him full force…even one so close to Buddhahood was attacked…so imagine for us? Never give up..because there is nothing to give up for.” ~ Tsem Rinpoche
Understand that our mind is only reacting to what we are attached to. And if we truly want to conquer the demons within, and kill the enemy within, we will not hesitate to look deeper and keep digging. FIND OUT THE TRUTH ABOUT OURSELVES, even if it is scary.
This is where trust and faith in our Guru will be severely tested and demonstrated.
If we calm ourselves and think clearly, we will come to appreciate how kind our Guru is to put himself or herself through such a process in order to help us.
Just imagine that in our bodies lie a very toxic poison that is both lethal to us as much as it is to anyone who even attempts to extract this poison out from us. However, if this poison is not removed from us, we can never heal completely. It gets worse, from one life to the next, if we believe in karma. And even if you don’t believe in karma, you will experience its terminal effects in this very life alone. If there is no antidote, we cannot be cured. Simple as that.
Now, imagine that immense kindness and compassion of the Vajra Master and Guru who takes the risk and responsibility upon himself or herself, to extract this venom from us so that our healing can begin. Fully knowing that the poison could kill him or her, in the process. This is how much our Gurus and Vajra Masters care for us all.
So, while we are so engrossed in our own self-pity party or anger or disappointments, we may not even realize how much our Gurus truly care for us. We may find it hard to maintain a pure view of our Gurus because we are more concerned with consoling ourselves. Hence, trust and faith in one’s Guru is so crucial in Vajrayana. Especially more so when the Guru is extracting every poison out of our bodies. Bear in mind, our Gurus are not dealing with just one body or one person. Our Gurus have many students and friends who need just as much help. So, imagine how much work our Gurus have before him or her, if you can.
Suffering is a state of mind. And it is very different from person to person. And it is not easy to see beyond our own suffering, while we are going through it. However, if we did not have any trace of the self-cherishing venom in us, we would not be experiencing any suffering in the first place. Also, if we did not create the causes for certain situations to arise, they can never arise.
At the end of it all, the most important question we should ask ourselves is, do we want the causes of our suffering to end? Not just temporarily, but permanently.
If we do, then we need to rise after our fall.
We need to rise as quickly as possible, and not waste anymore time in our suffering.
Yes, we do not need to dedicate more time into our suffering than necessary.
Focus on what truly helps us grow, learn and move on. We will gain a much better and stronger us in the end.
There may be monsters and demons that reside within each of us, but there are also angels, heroes and the Buddha nature that are also within every one of us.
Recognise which is the real enemy and attack the real enemies, not our saviours, friends and Gurus. More importantly, do not just beat up ourselves over and over. Only our enemies within.
May virtue always triumph in each of us.
MAY WE WIN EVERY FIGHT AND NEVER GIVE UP.
WE HAVE ALL THE WEAPONS WE NEED IN THE STRENGTH OF OUR MIND.