Deal with the Lack of Resolution, Which is Life!

Via Linda Lewis
on May 18, 2011
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Photo: Josh Wolf

In the early 70’s my life seemed fresh, wide open, but, having arrived in Boulder to be Trungpa Rinpoche’s student, it also seemed directionless and uncertain.

Like many early students, I went to ask Rinpoche for advice. I had an interview scheduled with him in his office at 1111 Pearl Street.

Rinpoche listened to my discursive verbal meandering and then said,

“Deal with the lack of resolution, which is life!”

My mind stopped. I sat there realizing that I was deluded into thinking, “If I did this… then I would be happy”, or “If I didn’t do that, but did the other, it would be the right thing to do.”

Photo: Wally Gobetz

His statement stunned me. He was simultaneously lovingly and ruthlessly showing me that there was “no guarantee”—another one of his favorite expressions. I continued to sit there, stunned, but beginning to recognize that life was indeed an endless cycle of causes and conditions coming together, samsara in other words, and that this cycle of samsara was endless. As long as my happiness was dependent upon these causes and conditions, I would neither be content nor happy.

I continued to just sit there in his office. It was like a long, silent, sustained “Oh”… after all my previous jabbering.  Maybe it was just a minute, but it felt longer.

When I rose to thank him and leave, he was smiling one of his huge Cheshire cat smiles. As I left his office, I felt light and completely groundless, without reference point. I had asked for direction, and all directions suddenly ceased to exist. But I felt more open than ever, but without any urgent grasping for purpose or relationship.

As I continued to walk down the stairs and out of the building, I began to sense that joy couldn’t be dependent upon the ever-changing factors of life. And that Rinpoche was throwing me back on myself to decide. He wasn’t going to play Daddy for me. He trusted me to choose what direction to take, and that whatever I chose, there would be “no guarantee.”


About Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha. The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.


One Response to “Deal with the Lack of Resolution, Which is Life!”

  1. Lana says:

    Rinpoche didn't launch into a discussion of samsara, and that there was a path which would lead to resolution. I assume that came later. I am amazed that so many people went to him for advice on how to proceed in their lives, not just in their Buddhist studies, but on what work to do, etc.