Just Turn On the Light

“A good motivation, a good heart—this is what we must have at all times. This is the Dharma and nothing else. It is not something grandiose or elaborate.” Dudjom Rinpoche gave this guidance as a way to dispel our tendency to think awakening to our true nature is something exceptional. It simply boils down to intention. If we have good intention, that is the proper motivation for practicing the Dharma. Enough said.

We are entering a new year and many of us have the intention to make improvements in our lives. But we often fail to check in with our real motivation. Do we have a positive aspiration? Are we doing it because of a sense of low self-esteem and hope for a new outlook? We simply need to check in with our own heart and recognize our true wish. 

From the perspective of Dharma, we make all our aspirations for the benefit of others; we wish for our activities to be helpful, not only for ourselves, but for all beings. If we are clear with this intention, then we can trust the outcome. Otherwise, it is better not to make any resolutions because aspirations born of negative self assessment never help anyone. We must focus on our good heart which is none other than bodhicitta.

I think if we all simply placed our attention toward generating bodhicitta with every activity, all our aspirations would be achieved—and all wounds would be healed. On the other hand, if we place our attention on what is wrong and hope for something better we are destined to fail. One of my teachers said, “If you find yourself in a dark place, don’t try to push the darkness out. Just turn on the light.”

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