The Buddhist Way to Find Out Who we Truly Are.

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While in graduate school at Naropa University, I was lucky to meet a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who taught his students the way his teacher taught him, and so forth, back as many generations as we could fathom.

Over the years of studying and practicing, I began to realize that we were on a journey of self discovery and that there was an inherent wisdom in how this sequential path of practice and study was laid out. No wonder it has been done this way by so many devotees for hundreds of years!

The dharma teachings and practices are practical and down to earth.

We take responsibility for ourselves and our present situation. We don’t rely on someone else to do the work for us. It is not about tough love, but is what makes this approach so self empowering and self liberating. It is not to say people can’t help and support us. Of course they can, but they can’t do it for us. Ultimately it is up to us. We can learn to take back control over our own mind and learn how to cultivate our inner riches of love, warmth, clarity and beauty.

At every step of the way as we travel through the three yanas (groups of teachings), there are tools for developing awareness, insight and compassion that create the very foundation needed for the next inquiry and exploration.

This process of trying things out, having direct experiences, and reflecting on them is how we discover with unshakable confidence the truth about who we are. We have discovered it for ourselves by trial and error, and learning from our direct experience.

It is one thing for someone to tell us, “You’re good…You’re free…Everything is okay,” but if we don’t really believe it for ourselves, it doesn’t go very far or last very long.

We realize despite everything that has ever happened to us, our inner light has remained untouched. Nothing can ever take that away from us.

Having been dragged through the hell realms of extreme trauma in my childhood, I couldn’t believe how pure and bright the light in my heart was still radiating. It had always been there and was totally unharmed by all that had happened to me. It was more a matter of self discovery, as if it had been protected, hidden away, until it was safe to come out.

This is how I knew for sure that our true nature is indestructible.

Once we discover for ourselves who we are and what is true, we no longer need confirmation from outside, “Am I okay?” This is what allows us to finally relax and feel naturally peaceful and joyful.

 

Relephant: 

How To Find Yourself, When You’ve Lost Yourself.

 

Author: Tina Fossella

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Beverly & Pack/Flickr

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Tina Fossella, MFT

Tina Fossella, MFT, is a Contemplative Psychotherapist practicing in San Francisco, CA. She is passionate about the integration of psychological work and spiritual practice to support people in their healing and transformation. Click here to visit her website.

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anonymous Jun 13, 2015 10:22am

Thanks, Linda. Your comment made me smile. Great comeback!

anonymous Jun 10, 2015 6:49am

I was " attacked by an enthusiastic 7th Day Adventist the other day on Spring Garden Road in Halifax. He really wanted me to take his little booklet. I said what I always say, "I'm a buddhist", which usually works, but he started following me saying, "But Buddha didn't die for you!"
I turned around and simply said, "I'm so glad."
He stopped, as a tiny light seemed to go off in his head and he then exhaled a laugh and smiled.

anonymous Jun 9, 2015 1:40pm

Meditation saved my life, literally. I have totally known the "hell realms". I have suffered the downward spiral of PTSD and paranoia, etc.. There are times when life sucks so much that sitting to meditate is impossible, until one learns to be gentle, see the illusion of the "me story" and become present. Thank you for what you do!

    anonymous Jun 13, 2015 10:21am

    Thank you, Mark. Yes, being gentle is the key.