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Cutting Illusions

December 2, 2010

The King's Gallery, a line of statues of the 28 Kings of Judah and Israel. This was redesigned by Viollet-le-Duc to replace the statues destroyed during the French Revolution. The revolutionaries believed the statues to represent the French kings, so they decapitated them.

Image Credit: Sacred Destinations

Pema Chödrön learned about becoming comfortable with uncertainty from her teacher, the Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa. His own life experience – the loss of his family, teachers, and country when the Chinese Communists conquered Tibet – broke him open so radically that being around him was an unsettling experience.

During the years in which I studied with him, he provided little security or predictability for his students. He wasn’t amiable or gentle or comforting. He was barely friendly. There was only his daring personality and his dignified bearing, which inspired me. I was humbled by his humor and his enormous faith. His ability to flow with the river – with style and grace – was extraordinary.

Trungpa did not teach people to pray for life to turn out a certain way. Instead, he encouraged his students to learn from the way life already was. He regarded everyday events as messages about reality. “Trust in those messages,” he said. They are an accurate description of what came before and of what to do next. Don’t fight with reality. Don’t defend against it. Rather, read it like you would a newspaper. Read everything that happens to you and to others as pertinent news about the reality of being human, of being you.

Chogyam Trungpa describes the message system like this: If you take steps to accomplish something, that action will have a result – either failure or success . . . Trust is knowing that there will be a message. When you trust in those messages, the reflections of the phenomenal world, the world begins to seem like a bank, or reservoir, or richness. You feel that you are living in a rich world, one that never runs out of messages . . . Those messages are regarded neither as punishment nor as congratulations. You trust, not in success, but in reality.

~ Source: Broken Open: How difficult times can help as grow by Elizabeth Lesser

 Further Messages:

Ignorance, Faith, and the Discipline of the Demon Muse 

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