Lockdown it is and its end is something that can never be assured as what His Excellency Lyonchhen (Dr.) Lotay Tshering mentioned. But how good are we doing staying in our homes? The doors have been closed from inside for a while now and the session with Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche was an awakening to the mind which is becoming a victim to numbness.
As what Rinpoche mentioned, we are blessed to be under the leaders who treat their people as citizens and not as consumers. There is great security that we are promised when we are under the right leadership and there is no doubt about it that Bhutan will have a successful come-out on current difficulties too.
- Modern people are afraid of being left out. We alienate ourselves from our loved ones (friends, families, village, etc.,).
- The mind has no hierarchy, it is vast as the sky and there is no limitation to how much it can accommodate.
- Being resilient is the purest form of blessings we can acquire through practice without religious intervention.
- Younger minds are pressurized to have goals.
- The crisis must be seen as an opportunity; The possibilities could be enormous. One needs to appreciate boredom.
As we all know and most are unaware of how fast the pace of modernity is, it for most triggers our mind bringing in thoughts such like FOMO (fear of missing out), we are always in fear thinking we would be left out. It is not false that modernization is making humankind a loner, we become lonely, alienating ourselves from our loved ones. Of course, technology is good and despite it catering to negative actions, we have known modern tech for enhancing productivity, but seeing a lot of people pushed to isolation is no exception as well.
Resilience, which also comes form His Majesty’s 5 key identification of Bhutanese from the abbreviation SMART. Rinpoche’s talk on resilience in the session was the mind awakening message that could be put into practice for personal growth. Education in Bhutan started back in the 1960s under the Kingship of the Third Druk Gyelpo. What we have to know is that the education system was adapted from educational centres established by British scholars in India. Western system right? The world and its modernity waits for none and how frequent can we see the change in contents that our schools and universities provide? How long are we going to live with what worked a decade earlier? There is no doubt that most of the youth population are into short term skill-based content although not in Bhutan.
Growing as a child s/he ends up growing in a funnel having pressurized to have goals or making them swallow the bitter intentions of elders which actually are sweet because the brain is easily manipulatable. It is a programmed growth that we are seeing in current generation; Controlled contents and controlled visuals. While most of the nation and states are already on the lane of plutocracy, it is bliss, for now, to have government work for the people.
Creativity plays a vital role and has always been an appreciative term for all of the histories we have known. We have to be creative in observing/doing things. As in defining an object or anything that is given to us. As simple as defining wealth, we only see to it as being rich in terms of physical accumulation and nothing more or health for which the mental issues were never mentioned in most dictionaries. Rinpoche mentioned about being creative and authentic in defining things. What we have in books and schools are so narrowed down that we are confined to fixed meanings. As for poets who uses the word “star”, millions must have used in their poems but it always is used in a different context having the freedom of definition. We need to have authenticity and be creative in defining.
As Rinpoche mentioned སེམས་ ([Sem]Dzongkha word which loosely translates to “mind” in English). It is a complex build that we are born with and something that science and technology may not be able to make. It is just our head we physically refer to but it is vast as the sky, there is no limit to its ability to accommodation. We learn and the learning has no end, like what we know can easily pass through the needle’s eye while what we do not know cannot fit in the entire world. Isn’t it awesome how what we have, accumulations such as health, wealth and our physical gains which can all be taken away but what we have in our mind can never be. We are born with it and we should not take it for granted.
Back to resilience, hearing from Rinpoche and a gentle reminder to ourselves. It is something that we always had that ability but left unpracticed. We all have an ability or the capacity to be resilient but what we need for it to be a part of very self is that “want” to be resilient. We have to train ourselves; our mind. We can always start small but we have to be consistent with the practice. As for now, the lockdown has been more than three weeks and most have already started becoming numb, feeling bored and idle having nothing to do. Rinpoche’s simple answer to being resilience was to observe, simply observing our body, feelings and mind, and being conscious about it. We have thoughts coming in, be aware of it.
It is important that we see this current crisis as an opportunity for doing something great like how Elon Musk became the richest man on earth despite this pandemic or it could be as simple as creative expression through art, journals, music, etc., our voice could have an impactful strength. If we coffin ourselves to the numbness of situations, there is no doubt that we are going to remain coffined even if we were at a better state. We can’t let ourselves die while alive.
If wisdom is like sunrise, boredom is like a dawn.
We could observe objects in our home like a table or a mundane object like a doorknob. It doesn’t have to be for the entire day that we have to do but just for a minute in a day. Observing ourselves prepares us, it pre-ends the food for hope and fear that our mind has. Hope and fear that leads to desires, day-dreams, wild stories and delusions. We could get bored with meditation and practice but we got to be resilient. We have to take the extra step from what we all are already used to. We have to break the boredom, loneliness and idleness. Great ideas are born when least expected, we might end up finding treasures in our boredom if we pay attention to it.
Simply observe, it is like a gold mine, a treasure mine.
As said, observation prepares us for all the upcoming events in life, be it pain or pleasure. We learn to have a better point of view for everything we see unlike for example., making a blindfolded person to touch the elephant and he would name all the other animals. When we are confined to narrowed definition and thoughts, we lose our eyesight to the other side, in short, we never drag ourselves to have the bird-eye-view which leads us to make narrowed decisions, bringing an end to decisions without understanding thus leading to delusions. We lose our sanity when we don’t have a proper idea of where the situation is leading.
Similarly, for all the crisis, we are having like the current pandemic, health disorder, or emotional thoughts such as suicide and mental issues. When we start to observe deeply we see the complete view, not just how we conclude our thoughts but seeing what exist on the other side of the problems, seeing it as an opportunity for positive possibilities. All of these when we want to be resilient and start observing ourselves.
All in all, to sum up, the baseline of all that is happening today, the very answer is the Four Noble Truth as told by the Buddha, if we have understood it well we are already ahead of the common population in dealing with problems and issues in life. Acceptance is the big answer which is difficult to swallow.
If you are into prayers and chanting you should continue doing it, as what Rinpoche said, including lighting a butter lamp, it adds to buildings resilience. It is the classical way all the Buddhists have been practising.
Happy Home Days ✌