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10 Quotes by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche That Cut Through Spiritual B.S.

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Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Chögyam Trungpa was a Buddhist meditation master and a bright spark within both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, and the eleventh Trungpa tülku. He was born in a remote village in the Himalayas, and recognized by the Trungpa lineage as a Buddhist teacher when he was still an infant. One of his teachers, Khenpo Gangshar was famous for his “crazy wisdom.” This wisdom can be seen in much of the Rinpoche’s commentary and teachings. These form a vast body of study, but if you really want to cut through the spiritual BS and get right down to the truth of the matter, Chögyam Trungpa is your guy. Here are ten quotes that cut to the chase, albeit with eloquent insight.

Let’s Be Real. When We Start Our Paths to Enlightenment, We Aren’t Beautiful, Peaceful or Smart. That’s O.K.

You wouldn’t stay away from a yoga class because you are inflexible, would you? That’s the purpose of the practice – to get unstuck —  mentally, physically, and spiritually from the things that keep us ignorant, rude, war-like, selfish, and non-compassionate. If meditation teaches you nothing else, it will teach you to look at yourself honestly. Chögyam Trungpa would say, “We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.” If you think you are peaceful, you will see in deep contemplation, that you start wars within yourself, even if you don’t with others, or that you fight against something — even if its the materiality of your own body. If you think you are intelligent, you learn in meditation that you know so little, and there is an epic amount of knowledge and wisdom (not just facts) that you still need to absorb. If you think you are beautiful, and define this only as your physical state, a spiritual path will show you all the places you are ugly, so that your soul can grow in that manure.

You Must Die to Live

“Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment,” is the way  Chögyam Trungpa put it. In Jungian psychology the death of the ego is called a ‘psychic’ death, but it can feel just like a physical death. We cling to our small, subjective self-identity so strongly. As the Tibetan Buddhist masters taught, to become everything, you must first become nothing. And that ain’t easy — but it is possible. When the ego loses its grip on our physical sensations, this is the first step in realizing that we are more than the self that we have imagined. We lose ourselves in earth’s material pleasures, forgetting that they are small in comparison to the Allness of the Universe. When we are finally ready to return to Oneness, the ego may die a little at a time, or all at once, and it can be painful. This psychic transformation; however, removes the shackles of materialism and dualism, and we once again join with Full Awareness.

Meditation is Not Making You a Better Person – It is Revealing the Person You Are

When giving meditation instructions, Chögyam Trungpa would say, “I would like to emphasize that the practice of meditation as it was presented by the Buddha is no more and no less than working with yourself—sitting with yourself, alone, without entertainment, without further feedback and encouragement.” This sitting with yourself reveals who you are. You don’t judge the good thoughts that come up, nor the bad. You just sit and watch. Learn and discover. He would also say, “Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.”

Fearlessness Only Arises from True Tenderness

As Chögyam Trungpa would teach, “Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willing to share your heart with others.”

We Need to See Our Most Undesirable Parts

“Many people try to find a spiritual path where they do not have to face themselves but where they can still liberate themselves–liberate themselves from themselves, in fact. In truth, this is impossible. We cannot do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our real shit, our most undesirable parts. We have to see that. That is the foundation of warriorship and the basis of conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it,” said Chögyam Trungpa.

War Only Arises from Within a Mundane Mind

Tibetan Buddhists have been in their fair share of skirmishes, but this teacher wisely advises, “As long as a person is involved with warfare, trying to defend or attack, then his action is not sacred; it is mundane, dualistic, a battlefield situation.” As Eckhart Tolle would say, “In most cases, when you say “I,” it is the ego speaking, not you. It consists of thought and emotion, of bundles of memories you identify with “me and my story,” of habitual roles you play without knowing it, of collective identifications such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or political allegiance. It also contains personal identification, not only with possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance, long-standing resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not as good as others, as a success or failure.” This is the kind of mind that creates war with perceived “others.”

The Ego Will Appropriate Even Spirituality to Save its Own Ass

“No matter what the practice or teaching, ego loves to wait in ambush to appropriate spirituality for its own survival and gain,” taught Chögyam Trungpa. We can see all the ways false gods and gurus, or even our close friends deem themselves “better” or “more enlightened” than others while they are still eons from achieving true compassion, selflessness, or kindness. Beware of the many snares of the ego mind. Its deviousness is hard to deceive by ingenuity alone.

Your Heart Isn’t Really Open Until It Stays Loving While People Are Tormenting You

“When we find ourselves in a situation in which our buttons are being pushed, we can choose to repress or act out, or we can choose to practice. If we can start to do the exchange, breathing in with the intention of keeping our hearts open to the embarrassment or fear or anger that we feel, then to our surprise we find that we are also open to what the other person is feeling. Open heart is open heart.”  This is wise advice from a man who certainly had to face fear, anger, and jealousy, just like he rest of us.

Sanity Looks Nothing Like You Thought

This Tibetan master would say, “Delight in itself is the approach of sanity. Delight is to open our eyes to the reality of the situation rather than siding with this or that point of view.” Strangely, when we stop seeing things as we wish they could be, but as they truly are, we experience tremendous freedom. We can choose to work with things as we’ve created them thus far, and stop kidding ourselves about the manifestations that surround us. This freedom creates delight. Think of a toddler playing in a sand box or a dog chasing its own tail. They don’t try to force things into being, they just “play” with things as they are.

Even the Wisest Sage Cannot Teach You Your Truth

Chögyam Trungpa once said in a talk, “There is a saying in the Tibetan scriptures: “Knowledge must be burned, hammered, and beaten like pure gold. Then one can wear it as an ornament.” So when you receive spiritual instruction from the hands of another, you do not take it uncritically, but you burn it, you hammer it, you beat it, until the bright, dignified color of gold appears. Then you craft it into an ornament, whatever design you like, and you put it on.”

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Consciousness

9-Year-Old Mexican Girl With Higher IQ Than Albert Einstein Already Studying to be Astronaut

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Adhara Pérez may only be nine years old, but she already has big dreams – which is only fitting, considering the Mexico City native has an IQ of 162, a score even higher than quantum scientists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Adhara has been taking IQ tests since she was only four years old, and has been applying her considerable brain power to studying advanced subjects that some of us could only dream of grasping.

At the age of seven, she was already ranked by Forbes magazine in 2019 as one of the most powerful women in Mexico.

The young prodigy is already studying for two degrees: one is systems engineering at the Universidad CNCI, and the other is industrial engineering at UNITEC.

She’s also been invited to pursue a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Miami; as well as an offer to study physics at the University of Israel.

To top it off, she’s been invited to join the Aeronautics Program in Alabama and to study Space Science at NASA, reports Telemundo. She hopes to eventually become an astronaut.

However, the youngster is aiming to continue her studies at the University of Arizona and is quickly learning English in hopes of preparing to pursue her dreams.

“I have to stay there for three months to learn and get accustomed to hearing and speaking English,” Adhara explained to NBC San Diego.

At the age of three, Adhara was diagnosed with autism and bullied by neighborhood kids in the Mexican capital for being different. The youngster eventually fell into a deep depression, but this also began her journey toward a brighter future.

Upon being placed in therapy by her mother, she underwent various IQ tests and got a score of 162 – two points higher than Einstein and Hawking, who each scored 160.

Upon finishing high school at the age of eight, she began working on her degrees online. She’s also already written a book about her experience being bullied and the need for perserverence.

Her advice?

“Do not give up, and if you don’t like where you are, start planning where you want to be!”

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7 Powerful Books That Will Unleash The Hidden Potential Of Your Mind

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“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~George R.R. Martin

There it is: your mind –all leashed-up, bored, bookless and chasing its own tail in the corner. It’s time to unleash it. It’s time to toss it back into the shocking waters of wonder and awe. It’s time to distract it from the all too familiar tail (or tale, to wit), and give it a juicy carrot to chase around instead. Seven juicy carrots, to be exact.

So, store that leash, open up your mind, curl up with your best friend, and dive right on in to the following mind-unleashing books. But keep the light on. As Groucho Marx wittily opined, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

1.) “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsche

“We never know any data before interpreting it through theories. All observations are, as Popper put it, theory-laden, and hence fallible, as all our theories are.” ~David Deutsche

From epistemology and quantum fungibility to environmental ethics and societal evolution, David Deutsche takes us on a thought-provoking journey into answering a single question: Is there a limit to what can be understood? He comes at a mind-expending answer of “no” by diving deep into the expanding waters of epistemology and ontology. He profoundly claims that our understanding of anything is always at the “beginning of infinity” and there will always be an infinite amount more left for us to understand. Basically surmising that, with accurate and adaptable knowledge, anything is possible unless it is prohibited by the laws of physics.

Highly rational and integrating, The beginning of Infinity launches us into higher thinking on the path toward better and better explanations. He takes us from parochial, outdated ways of thinking to the concept of universality and updated ways of thinking about the universe as a thing to be progressively evolved into using ever-expanding technologies. Thus bridging the gap from man to overman. As he made clear, “There is only one way of thinking that is capable of making progress, or of surviving in the long run, and that is the way of seeking good explanations through creativity and criticism.”

2.) “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Thanks to Csikszentmihalyi, the idea of the “flow state” has become a vital aspect of our cultural awakening. The optimal experience is gained through deep discipline in a particular field/art/sport that provides intrinsic reward, challenge, and feedback, thus integrating confidence, concentration, control, adaptability, and connectivity. Time stops or slows down. Insecurities disappear. We stop caring about what others think of us. A creative unfolding of something larger manifests. Everything flows effortlessly in interconnected unison with us as its interdependent spearhead. In short: we stop thinking and just do.

By simply asking the question, “When are people most happy?” Csikszentmihalyi, through time tested research, pinpoints flow states as the answer. Athletes call it “being in the zone,” mystics have described it as “ecstasy,” and artists term it “rapture.” Unleashing optimal experience is about doing what we love as a pathway toward greater meaning, happiness, and a self of higher complexity. By doing what we love in challenging ways, we leverage optimal experience into our lives. This book powerfully explains the psychology of this vital process.

3.) “Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul” by Giulio Tononi

“Murky thoughts, like murky waters, can serve two purposes only: to hide what lies beneath, which is our ignorance, or to make the shallow seem deep” ~Giulio Tononi

Phi takes the reader on a mind-altering journey through the nature of consciousness. It interweaves science, art, and the imagination with golden ratios, Fibonacci sequences, and fractal cosmology. The reader has the joy of perceiving the world through such masters as Galileo, Alan Turing, Darwin and Francis Crick, among others. From neuroscience to pseudoscience, from deep introspection to mindful meditation, Tononi elucidates on how consciousness is an evolving, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves as finite, spiritual beings in an infinite universe.

We learn how consciousness is integrated information and how the power of that integration requires the utmost responsibility and credulity. It teaches how the brain is the seat of our perceptions, and is a creative force par excellence, and can even create new shapes and new qualia. It teaches how, by growing consciousness, the universe comes more and more into being, and synthesizes the one and the many, the ego and the eco, the individual and the interdependence of all things into a unified force of Nature.

4.) “The Art of Fear” by Kristen Ulmer

““Everything is fine” is actually a copout, a stuck place, an obstruction to the exploration of who and what you are expanding into higher and further, not to mention the evolution of humanity.” ~Kristen Ulmer

The Art of fear is about curiously embracing fear rather than conquering or repressing it. It’s about rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up. It’s about realizing that Fear is only one of 10,000 employees at You Incorporated, and how they all need a voice. But Fear most of all, lest all voices become repressed shadows. The key to fear, she explains, is being curious about it, thereby harnessing its power rather than conquering it. Between courage and curiosity is everything we need to be fearless.

Ulmer’s personal journey with fear eventually led her to study with Zen masters, from which she learned a mindfulness tool called “Shift” which shifts our perspective of fear from ignorant repression to proactive curiosity, thus aligning it authentically with our true nature. The basic tenet being this: Instead of repressing fear, empower it, by being curious and questioning rather than judgmental and accusing. Honor it with deep respect so it doesn’t operate covertly in twisted ways beneath the surface.

5.) “Endgame: The Problem of Civilization” by Derrick Jensen

“Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.” ~Derrick Jensen

Endgame will take everything you think you know about being a social being in a seemingly functional society and turn it on its head. Definitely not for the typical statist, nor the faithful law-abiding citizen. Endgame is about the imperative need to immediately dismantle the unhealthy civilization that surrounds us. Endgame is a scathing, raging critique against the unhealthy, unsustainable, and ecologically unsound man-machine that is our modern culture.

Breaking the book down into a series of simple but increasingly provocative premises, Jensen takes us on a mind-bending and convincing ride into the unhealthy belly of the violent, ecocidal beast that is modern day civilization. His basic premise is simple: Industrial civilization is unsustainable. It’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when” it’s going to fail.

He argues that the longer it takes civilization to fall, the worse the tragedy will be. In that light, there are two things we should be doing: Bringing about the fall sooner rather than later; and preparing to survive it. His attitude is caustic and cavalier, but all the better for the shock value it provides. This book really flattens the box we’re all so desperately trying to think outside of. A complimentary (and perhaps less aggressive) read is Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn.

6.) Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde

“Better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.” ~Lewis Hyde

Trickster Makes This World is a mythological cornerstone for Sacred Clowns and practicing trickster-gods the world over, digging into the guts of the primordial importance of sacred play and rowdy behavior. Hyde explores how trickster figures represent the “disruptive imagination” that inverts, rearranges, and overturns conventional wisdom. From Raven to Coyote, Monkey to Crow, Hermes to Loki, Eshu to Legba, Hyde reveals connections between mythological tricksters that form a hidden network that connects cultural divides.

The best part about this book is its ability to show how mythology becomes reality. “Trickster consciousness’” is a vital component of human imagination. It reveals that we are the gods of renewal and rebirth, if we choose to be. We are the creators of mischief and mayhem. We are the trickster gods in training. Trickster is us, and we are Trickster. We are the ultimate boundary-crossers. No manmade rules or laws can contain us, unless we let them. Even cosmic rules and laws can hardly contain us. Trickster makes this world by tearing the old world down through high humor, moral ambiguity, foolishness, and strategic transgression and then dances in the ashes of its destruction. But it is precisely from the dancing, the kicking up of dust and ash, where brave new worlds emerge.

7.) “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them” by Joshua Greene

“We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.” ~Joshua Greene

Moral Tribes is hands-on moral psychology and a refreshing new take on utilitarianism. Greene wraps game theory, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience into a nice digestible package to bolster his theory of cognition, which builds elegantly into a theory of moral psychology. A sweeping synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Moral Tribes opens a can of psychosocial worms that takes the concept of morality to the next level, revealing how we are exceptionally well-adept at solving the dilemma between “Me” and “Us,” through the concept of the “tribe,” but how we are ridiculously less-adept at solving the meta-dilemma between “Us” and “Them.”

Greene’s concept of metamorlity squares this psychosocial circle by counterintuitively applying utilitarianism to our base, knee-jerk reaction to morality (evolved morality) by becoming aware of our apathy in order to become more empathetic. By reinforcing humanity instead of nationalism, and worldly patriotism instead of patriotic nationalism, we turn the tables on both xenophobia and apathy and we become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of colonialism into the round hole of cultural affiliation, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional metamorality.

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