“Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within.”
– BKS Iyengar
[Written by Lama Chogyal Namkhai Norbu]
I saw many practitioners who spent many years in the Community, and succeeded in learning to avoid an honest look at themselves. And I’m convinced, even now that I wrote these lines, many of you have already read them and say to yourself: ′′ This is not me, he is talking about another “.
Here is a good awareness practice to follow: once in the mind will arise a critical assessment of another person, switch up immediately and try on this judgment on yourself. Then, instead of developing your negative judgements, you can really succeed in the development of your awareness. This is one of the meanings of the symbol ′′ mirror “.
In our Community, people have a tendency to communicate with only one teacher. They seek to be near me, but at the same time demonstrate suspicion to other practices by treating them as enemies. Many of you probably think that they are not the same, and as an example, your mind lists all your friends from the Community.
I want you to pause for a long time and take a close look at yourself. This attitude towards yourself is a very subtle thing; it penetrates the most humble parts of our existence. So when Lama leaves these people, it’s extremely difficult for them to cooperate with each other without conflict, because they actually have a hidden distrust of other practitioners they always had, they just didn’t realize it.
This deep, hidden feeling is actually a form of jealousy and anger. If a person is truly present in the reflection in the ′′ mirror “, he will notice the feeling in himself and recognize him as an obstacle to his own development and the development of the entire Community.
In the community, sometimes it happens that the longer a person learns Dzogchen, the more qualified he thinks he is to judge others. In fact, this is what happens: in the first year or two, such people are literally shocked by Learning, perhaps they even have a small change. But soon after that, they catch the Dzogchen on themselves as new armor, strengthen their position and begin to criticize, judge or teach others what they should do. In fact, they manage to remain untouched by the Learning, and their lives are wasted as if they never met the Dharma. Of course, there is nothing wrong with criticism if it is actually positive and helps.
But sometimes, when a group of community members gathers, it becomes like a gathering of irritated elderly and old women complaining about life and each other, than practitioners on their way to implementation! I’ve seen many practitioners criticizing and talking about other nasty things, often even in the absence of these people. The practitioner must try to realize his actions at any moment in time. Then everything can be used for its development. The practitioner must realize that the true content of his hard criticism of others, his sarcasm is his own anger. So, if he wants to develop his anger, he needs to continue to develop his ability to criticize and sarcasm.
However, if he wants to reduce his anger, he must use his desire to criticize others as an opportunity to look in the ′′ mirror ′′ at himself and recognize his anger in action. And at this moment, he must feel this anger as his own, relax in this feeling without clinging to it or pushing it away, but also not get rid of anger, projecting it outside on another person. And this is one of the ways you need to constantly work on yourself along the way of Dzogchen. Without this constantly ′′ look in the mirror ′′ is almost impossible to reduce karmic causes.
Sometimes it seems like members of the Community are the plows of children climbing out of the skin to be the first to repeat after me what they think and receive a reward from me for being the most exemplary kids. If this is the way things are done, none of our Community will ever develop the personal courage required to become a real practitioner. In the end, on the way to the implementation of practices, we must remain alone with ourselves.