By Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche
Shambhala Mountain Center hosts Finding Happiness Within: Reconnecting with Your Natural State of Mind through Meditation with Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche September 4–6, 2015 — click here to learn more
Knowing how to work with your mind and how to make your mind comfortable are the most important things you can do for yourself and others. To make your mind comfortable, you just need to discover two things—that your mind is innately pristine and healthy, and that thoughts and emotions are not who you are, but just mental events. That’s all you really need to know.
Once you understand that your mind is innately pristine, and that thoughts and emotions are merely mental events, it completely changes the picture of how you relate to your mind and how you experience life. This is the real solution. This is the source of happiness and enlightenment. With this knowledge you can solve any challenges you face.
Once you recognize that your mind is innately pristine, then with meditation you can maintain that awareness more and more. As you do so, your thoughts, emotions, and other mental events gradually become less powerful and your mind becomes more comfortable. I refer to this natural state of mind as Pristine Mind. As this experience of Pristine Mind grows and expands in your awareness, then regardless of your external circumstances, your experience is equally pleasant. Over time this evenness grows to greater and greater degrees.
Photo by Jamie Woodworth
When you truly experience your mind as pristine and flawless, when you know your pure awareness, your true consciousness, when you recognize and remain within that, then deep down, you are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually fulfilled. You are intimately connected with who you really are and with the world.
Meditating in Pristine Mind, you experience no gaps or discomfort. As your meditation progresses, your own thoughts, emotions, and mental chatter slowly dissolve giving you contentment and satisfaction. All relationships you have with others are enhanced, and when those relationships disappear, you remain fulfilled because you are not entirely dependent on circumstances. You are not merely numbing yourself temporarily to feel content; that contentment is springing forth naturally.
Then any relationships you have, any trips you take, any parties you attend, any sensory experiences you enjoy are enhanced by this underlying contentment. You are more grounded no matter what you do. Those forms of entertainment are no longer distractions; they merge with your experience of true happiness. If your mind is pristine, then external conditions actually arise as forms of happiness, not distraction.
Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is a meditation master in the Nyingma lineage of the Buddhist tradition. He studied for ten years at Larung Gar in Serta, eastern Tibet, with his teacher, Jigmed Phuntsok Rinpoche, who is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Dzogchen meditation masters of the twentieth century. Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the founder and spiritual director of Pristine Mind Foundation (www.pristinemind.org). He travels throughout the United States and around the world teaching a broad range of audiences, including those at universities, tech companies and yoga studios, how they can improve their lives through meditation. Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche is the author of Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness — forthcoming from Shambhala Publications Spring 2016.