Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ambition with or without an 'I'

Living in America can be quite stressful, especially being the type-A
personality that I am. I feel being driven is a very good thing, it
allows one to accomplish a lot. And yet, there are always chances to
get burned out and over-exhausted. So what is it that makes the
difference? Tsoknyi Rinpoche
has given some amazing teachings that address these issues. The core
of it (from my perspective) is that what makes ambition pathological is
when it is driven by ego, and by a constant need for recognition. One can
also be ambitious by ones motivation to help beings, but not be so
dependent on whether one is recognized or not. When functioning from
that perspective, you are much more closely connected to yourself, and
there is a lot more peace. Frustration cannot get a handle on you
because there is this deep courage. The courage to keep working for
the benefit of beings, in whatever way one happens to do it, no matter
what happens. Whenever you feel this sense of rushing, this impatience
that is the sign of ego, come, you can remind yourself that it is not
about 'me', and take a few deep, slow breaths, and a sense of quiet
will arise. It is quite remarkable, really.

Of course this will be quite a learning process, but even just to
recognize that there is a way out of our learned competitiveness and
judgmentalness, while still retaining our drive and dedication is
quite an insight. It is a tool on the way to becoming more of a
modern-day bodhisattva, as Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche likes to call it.
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