5.0

Self-Help is Bad for Us.

Ki Ki, So So!

Today, I deleted a quote on elephant’s spirituality page that was typical Positivity. You know, “imagine what you want and you will be it” kinda thing. Here’s why:

“We have a fear of facing ourselves. That is the obstacle. Experiencing the innermost core of our existence is very embarrassing to a lot of people. A lot of people turn to something that they hope will liberate them without their having to face themselves. That is impossible. We can’t do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our excrement, our most undesirable parts. We have to see them. That is the foundation of warriorship, basically speaking. Whatever is there, we have to face it, we have to look at it, study it, work with it and practice meditation with it.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa

So thank you, again, Trungpa Rinpoche, for having the sweet heart and good cheer to remind us all that we are fundamentally good—we don’t have to pretend to be so. We can be thoroughly cheerful, not just temporarily, conditionally, externally happy. We can afford to be generous to others, and we need not be afraid of being alone—or even loneliness. Half the yoga world, these days, is afraid of its own raw, naked heart.

“Warriorship is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. It is soft and gentle. You have renounced putting on a new suit of armor. You have renounced growing a thick, hard skin. You are willing to expose naked flesh, bone, and marrow to the world.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa

We are, these days, consumed with petty lusts, professional jealousies, sexual doucheries. The examples held up in my town and on facebook and at conferences and expos are too often those who have made money, who can speak shamelessly about themselves, who are best at suckering others.

I am not of that clan. I am of the Mukpo clan, and we don’t f**k around. We are willing to stand tall, connecting to heaven—the realm of vision, inspiration, compassion—and earth—the notion of details, practicality—and we are willing to join heaven and earth in our hearts even as they break in a thousand sad fragments.

For it is through our own broken-heartedness that we remember compassion, and it is through generosity, not ego, that we discover true joy.

So this sadness I feel is good news—a hangover from a week spent longing for genuine happiness—when all I have to do is look around me at the love and sunshine and peace in my own home and among some of my friends.

~ Waylon H. Lewis
Hotelephant
Boulder, Colorado
April 6th, 2013

 

For more, click:

“One of the main obstacles to fearlessness is our habitual patterns. Ordinarily, we don’t let ourselves experience ourselves fully. That is to say, we have a fear of facing ourselves. Experiencing the innermost core of their existence is embarrassing to a lot of people. We cannot do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our most undesirable parts. We have to see that. That is the basis of conquering fear. We have to face our fear; we have to look at it, study it, work with it, and practice meditation with it.” ~ Chogyam Trungpa

Bonus, via @waylonlewis on Instagram:

“A tool is to be treated reverentially, for it symbolizes, in the most practical manner possible, the notion that whatever confusion or suffering lies ahead, we have within us the means to cope.”

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Yahweh's Blanket Mar 21, 2014 7:40pm

Interesting, considering Chodron continues to return to her seated practice (self help technique?), and Trungpa was both an intense womanizer and alcoholic. The highly developed spiritual practices like weight-lifting… wait… seated meditation, chi gong, asana, etc, will continue to yield growth. There is a balance between growth and acceptance– no easy stuff here.

Bay Mar 21, 2014 10:07am

All I know is that I have a sadness from losing love and I hold onto it. Otherwise, I take things for granted and get frustrated at the people sitting at green lights in front of me.

Ha, "sexual doucheries".

Stephen Bushi Jan 24, 2014 6:22pm

Saying self help is bad for us is like saying attending school is bad; learning to read is bad; learning to ride a bike or car is bad; reading about Ghandi is bad; exercising is bad; being a vegan is bad; etc. We do these things to to broaden our horizons, and in the process usually feel we are a better person in some way for doing these things. Even if an active alcoholic talks with us about the value of soberiety, we can gain something to enrich our lives. Even reading an essay about the evils of self help has helped me.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.