This path toward openness, which finds its natural expression in devotion and surrender, is one that we must travel for ourselves.

We cannot rely on friends or lovers; we cannot trust parents; we cannot expect help from society.

There is no one ‘out there’ who can really fulfill us.

Externally we may say, “I have many friends and family. I have my work,” but internally we are very much alone.

Nor is this being alone a sign that something is wrong ‘here’, so that we need to go ‘there’.

It is mostly human nature to be alone.

But this loneliness is also a sign that on our own we can make a fundamental change.

Taking our loneliness as a teaching, we can see that our need for ‘something’ cannot be satisfied through lesser truths or transient, selfish loves. 

Footsteps on the Diamond Path 

Our long-standing lack of care

So it is no surprise that we have been treating the earth the same way we treat ourselves, without much kindness or caring without knowing what is needed, ignorant of what constitutes real nourishment and enjoyment, lacking mutuality or respect for the beings that share our lives.

Our long-standing lack of care for this larger home is now apparent everywhere around the world; our beautiful planet is becoming a desert, the greenery is disappearing, animal species are diminishing, and the balance of nature is tilting dangerously this way and that.

Every week brings news of a new disaster—a wildfire out of control, a terrific flood, a famine or epidemic. TNMC Annals 46

Knowledge is intrinsic to our being

Knowledge is intrinsic to our being.

We can witness full understanding within ourselves.

We can know complete openness, which does not hold problems.

Within this knowledge realm, our mission of helping others goes on without any conditions.

It is important to ask yourself how you got into this business of having a mission.

When you know that, you know what a real mission is.

You don’t need to ask your religion or faith or philosophy to loan you the understanding you need.

Challenging Journey, Creative Journey 

A big task

Today there is so little time for meditation and so much agitation ‘agitation in the air’ that simply developing peace of mind, inner honesty, and self-trust becomes a big task.

Any progress we can make in this direction is important, for it helps us know what we are doing in the most fundamental way.

If we begin with mindfulness and move beyond just watching, we can come in contact with awareness beyond doer and watcher.

This awareness is flexible and penetrating, uplifting and protecting.

It leads invariably in wholesome directions. As we stop spinning the web of mind, we can protect intelligence and energy from loss and discover mind’s magical operations. 

Milking the Painted Cow

When the fruit is truly ready

When apples are completely mature, ready to eat, they come off the tree with the lightest of touches.

This is when they are at their most delicious.

We find this true with our own experience, when conditions for change mature within us.

It may take years of devoted practice, but when the time at last is ripe, insight comes softly and effortlessly; nothing can hold it back.

The work in which we have invested time and energy culminates in this moment.

When the fruit is truly ready, it falls in our hands. 

Lotus Mandala