A student writes:
I’ve been working really hard to see through my egoic strategies – it seems pretty endless but there are recurring ones and I think I’m getting better at recognising the onset which feels good. I’m not always clear how to climb out of it though the recognition seems to be a big step.
Lama Shenpen responds:
It is the most important step – so feel encouraged!
It is overwhelming to start seeing my self-centeredness and all the sneaky ways it asserts itself but also a relief to feel that something has shifted that is letting me see and own these distortions rather than smoothing things over and projecting my stuff onto others.
Great! It is all very sneaky isn’t it? Learn not to add to the sneakiness by judging it and condemning it – have sympathy and love for the sneaky part, it is doing its best. And as you love that part in you, you will find you can love that part in others too!
My question concerns a recent dream: I woke up suddenly feeling a really sharp anger. I was dismayed, discouraged that my keshas [negative emotions and mental states] were spilling over into my dreams – it seemed there was no escape, just an endless display of ego. I don’t remember having dreams like that before. But after reflecting on it more I am feeling that perhaps I am getting better at recognising and owning these feelings, which I feel is the only way to work with them.
This last observation is the most important one. It’s not a bad sign that you are remembering dreams where this kind of thing is happening. It is likely that you always were having them but didn’t remember them – the same is true for all of us.
I had what I felt was a real sense of just being tired of it all and it felt like a really strong sense of renunciation.
Good – tire of the whole process and learn to trust your True Nature. That is that part of you that is tired and fed up with all the other stuff!
Do you think it is good if we can start to be more aware of our negative emotions in our dreams? It felt more honest even though it was discouraging as well.
It is good. I don’t think it’s a sign of getting worse and it’s important to be able to notice what is going on – otherwise how can we come to understand it and see through it?
Read more from Lama Shenpen on the power of ‘noticing’ HERE and why noticing is enough.
Become a student of Lama Shenpen – Join the Awakened Heart Sangha:
Lama Shenpen’s students are members of the Awakened Heart Sangha and are all engaging in the Living the Awakened Heart Training – the structured, comprehensive, supported, distance learning programme in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight. The training, that’s open to all, brings the profound Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen and Mahamudra teachings to a Western audience in an experiential, accessible way, through spiral learning. Find out more and how to join the Awakened Heart Sangha and start your journey to discover the heart of Buddhism at www.ahs.org.uk/training