Why The Monks And Nuns Are The Way They Are

I hope you are happy and healthy and enjoying what seems to be a bit of recent improvement in conditions. If we want our conditions to improve more consistently in the future, taking some tips from the monks and nuns will be very helpful. How do you feel about maintaining a confidence and security that enable you to always look at life on Earth as a friend that you are traveling with, and never as a threat to be defended against? How do you like the idea of having an internally generated sense of well-being and happiness that is immune to assault by external circumstances? How about the notion of being a consistently kind and caring person to yourself as well as others—and eliminating doubt, fear, compulsive behavior, guilt, envy/jealousy, and anger from your life?                     
        Yep! That all sounds good to me too. That’s why I think the two chapters from the book Reincarnation Through Common Sense that are entitled, “Why The Monks And Nuns Are The Way They Are—Parts 1 and 2” contain some of the most important things I have ever observed and written about. These chapters total 17 pages and there are another 8 pages about similarities between the system in southeast Asia and the system from Tibet. But with due respect to the short attention span world that we live in, I will post excerpts that contain only @ 1000 words. The first of these is below. The second will follow next week. If you are interested in the rest, it can be found in the book. More party-heavy, less esoteric excerpts from all three books will appear online in the following weeks.       
         I am damn sure not going to become a monk and I doubt that anyone who reads this is going to become a monk or nun either. But there are a lot of things monks and nuns do full-time that, if adopted even very part-time by us regular humans, can turn a hellish life into a decent one and a decent life into a more heavenly one.    Be well. Love, Tenzin    
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Why The Monks And Nuns Are The Way They Are—Part 1                                                                                                  
                                                                                        THE BIG BRAIN THING

“In the cultivation of the mind, our emphasis should not be on concentration, but on attention. Concentration is a process of forcing the mind to narrow down to a point, whereas attention is without frontiers.” J. Krishnamurti      
         The locals visit our Temple often. Some come on to the grounds screaming, crying, angry, depressed, or otherwise agitated. After a half-hour of talking with our Wisdom Professionals, the formerly forlorn usually leave smiling. Why do so many people come here to see the robe wearers, and why do all these visitors leave feeling so much better than they did upon arrival? Why are the residents of this Temple so much fun to be around? What makes the Monks and Nuns who they are? There must be some reasons I’ll never know, but a few are obvious.      
          The first is The Big Brain thing, and the team spirit it entails. The second is reincarnation—but this is certainly not the kind of reincarnation you are used to hearing about. These two factors meet at so many crossroads that it can often be hard to separate them, but let’s try to talk about one at a time, beginning with The Big Brain thing.       
          Everybody’s got a brain and a mind. Many people consider these to be different words for the same thing. Technically, the brain is just a biological organ while the mind is something deeper and more inclusive. But in case it makes you more comfortable to do so, we will use these words interchangeably here. It won’t hurt anything. The words soul or spirit might be more accurate, and consciousness is actually what we’re talking about—but some folks think of these terms as abstractions. We can use the more familiar words “mind” and “brain” for now. Many people seem to find those terms more familiar and easier to understand.      
          It is widely known that any human uses only a small percentage of his or her mind/brain at any given time. Exactly how much gets used and what those percentages pay attention to have always been very important matters.       
         The Monks and Nuns believe that each individual carries a deep responsibility to focus the greatest possible percentage of their mental facility on the best, kindest, most loving, and most wisdom-heavy attitudes and functions they can produce. Fulfilling this responsibility is not optional but mandatory for them, as it probably should be for all of us. They recognize this responsibility as a necessity because it affects individual, familial, societal, and planetary relationships—as well as our survival as individuals and as a species.       
         Directing the use of our minds toward constructive positive ends is not an esoteric or saintly activity to be practiced only by cloistered Wisdom Professionals. It is a very practical and logical activity that can influence every human’s personal life. Material and emotional satisfaction are most comfortably born from a base of mental satisfaction. Happy and compassionate people feel prosperous, regardless of financial income. They don’t often steal from or kill each other.       
         Whether conscious of it or not, we always think of an action before we do it. There are big advantages to thinking consciously. The residents here know that any action should be avoided if it doesn’t help and that blind emotions bubbling up unrecognized from subconscious depths lead many folks into destructive actions. There are no blind emotions here. By quieting their own mental turbulence, these robed folks clearly see what they are thinking, and then steer it. Everything they do is done on purpose. Nothing gets away from them.       
         The sub/unconscious type of thought, and the actions resulting from it, are usually fueled by instinctive reactions or habitually programmed mental-reflex reactions. These are all too often based on the memory of past trauma or fear of the unknown future.       
         The most basic sub/unconscious thoughts are survival instincts and callous self-interest—animal reflexes. All of us live partially under the direction of such instincts. Our DNA has carried these instincts since caveman days. They are a physiological part of us. They cannot immediately be erased, but with proper attention the nastier parts can be transcended.       
         Our subconscious minds have inherited yet another batch of characteristics and instincts through the training and information we have been given by schools, churches, parents, governments, TV/media, and so on. These are the conditioned reflexes, the behavioral patterns we have observed and absorbed since birth.        
         These biological and historical patterns coexist as what can be called “the little brain.” A lot of human actions can more accurately be called knee jerk reactions. The subconscious mind has such an entrenched pre-recorded program of how-to-be and what-to-do in it that we often react to situations without giving any thought at all to our reaction. Many people spend most of their lives controlled by mental patterns that they are not even aware of.        
         But we have all floated into The Big Brain Thing on occasion. When you and a lover feel like one body, when you feel your child’s pain as if it is your own, when you display “superhuman” physical strength/perseverance/clarity of thought in an emergency situation—at these times we go beyond so-called normal human parameters of feeling and function. We wander semi-consciously into Big Brain mode.        
         The Monks and Nuns live there. Their conscious focus is on the mind and life that we all share in our involuntary coexistence with all other creatures—animal, human, and divine. They are of the opinion that the similarities and relationships between us all are more deserving of attention than the differences. They believe that the mutually beneficial goals that this Big Brained point of view dictates outweigh personal goals in importance.       
         Oddly enough, it often turns out that personal goals are much more easily attained when universal goals are given priority!       
         The concept that all of humanity shares a mutual existence and sort of a universal mind containing great power that properly trained individuals can tap into, somewhat resembles Carl Jung’s Collective Unconscious theory—except with the Temple folks it is conscious, the idea had already been around for several thousand years before the great Mr. Jung was born, and it is considered fact, not theory.        
         The drop/ocean metaphor is often used to explain it. Most of us think of ourselves as an individual drop of humanity. The people here in the Temple think of themselves as an integral part of a vast ocean that contains all living things. Both views have some truth in them. This “ocean attitude” may seem a little esoteric or even a bit weird to many of us, but it has advantages. All individual problems and personal pains recede somewhat when you pay attention to the bigger picture. The freedom and security that the power of an all-inclusive ocean offers are much greater than the freedom and security available to a single drop of water, or a singular human.         
         Like most of us, the Temple residents have good intentions. But they are more committed and loyal to those intentions than most of us are to ours. They make that commitment functional by donating their motivation for achievement toward improving life for all of their fellow-creatures, as well as for themselves. They constantly work on improving their little drop (self), but that process is always based on how their drop can become a better drop in order to become part of a better ocean (how improving their lives can improve all lives). They are dancing on their own legs, but a much bigger force than any individual is always playing the tune. All ways.       
         To put it another way, these Wisdom Professionals have trained their little brains very thoroughly in the concern for all little brains. This keeps them tuned to the same wavelength as that bigger force that both contains and is concerned with the well being of all the little brains—The Big Brain. They have, through dedication and strong effort, actually become a conscious cell in and therefore a bit of a co-creating partner with The Big Brain. Call it God, or Dharma, or The Force, or the Collective Unconscious, or the Unified Field. Whatever you would call an all-inclusive divine resource, they are now part of it. Perhaps we all are, anyway! But they are aware enough of their inclusion in the bigger system, and practiced enough in that system’s processes, to be able to direct themselves to coordinate with it. They consistently, consciously practice moving their minds in an internal direction that benefits everything external as much as possible. Loyalties and actions are at least as concerned with the ocean at large as they are with their own individual drop. This affiliation with the Big Brain governs the lives of the Nuns and Monks and all the choices they make. It directs them as surely as any commander directs his or her troops.

***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

IN ONLY @ 1000 WORDS—Clarity, Communication, Politics, and Religious Arrogance

Hello from the Himalayas! I hope you are happy, healthy, and enjoying the winter. Things are just beginning to possibly change for the better. There are logical reasons to think that 2021 will be a better year than 2020 was and, in a few months, Spring and the new life it brings may witness some progress in the human condition. From out here, it looks like we will have to remember at least two things in order to have any chance of that progress taking hold.        

1—Staying active on behalf of the lessons we’ve learned is essential. The Himalayas didn’t briefly become visible again by accident. It happened because people and their machines started pumping less crap into the atmosphere. The environment is certainly not the only issue at hand—but if that issue isn’t addressed immediately, there won’t be any other issues. 2—Many of us see life through the wool that has been pulled over our eyes, and attend to illusions and delusions more than we attend to the world we would see without them. No matter how unpleasant reality is in spots, we cannot allow ourselves to be frozen into inaction by externally manufactured and dangerously manipulative bullshit, or internally manufactured fears and frustrations.      Please be well and stay well. Much love, Tenzin      p.s. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—tap one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Goggle rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered. Thank you!

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“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion all rolled into one.” 
John Ruskin
              IN ONLY @ 1000 WORDS—Clarity, Communication, Politics, and Religious Arrogance                  An excerpt from the book Fearless Puppy On American Road        

Mary and I have hitchhiked over fifty thousand miles together by now. We are not judgmental or prejudicial, but have put in enough observation time and earned enough experiential education to recognize some patterns in humanity.                                                                              

Three Types of Communication

When you are hitchhiking, there are three types of communication that you can have with your host. These are: a shallow conversation, a deeper conversation, and silence. Silence speaks for itself. It can range from uncomfortable through comfortable, and on to transcendent. The shallow conversation mode may have more of religion and politics in it. Many people seem to think that just choosing these topics to speak about qualifies the conversation as being in deep mode. I have to disagree. Regardless, politics and religion seem to be the most popular subjects in human dialogue.     

The evidence of fifty thousand miles worth of listening suggests that many folks may not give these subjects as much thought as they should before they open their mouths about them. That doesn’t seem to stop many of my fellow humans from talking about these subjects for hours on end—and thinking that their personal opinions should become global mandates.  I can sum up what I’ve learned from listening to several thousand hours of conversation on these subjects in two very short chapters.                                                                    

Defeating Organized Religious Distortion        The quality of attention paid by the student is more important than who the teacher is. A kind Christian is better than a harmful Buddhist. A kind Buddhist is better than a harmful Christian. 

Jesus is not going to keep you dry if you piss into the wind.     

(Almost) every religion is waiting for someone to come save us. Jesus is going to come back and save the Christians, Messiah is going to come save the Jews, etc. My guess is that all this divine saving comes later. There seems to be a lot of saving that needs done by us amateurs before the professionals get here.     

Some folks think that Salvation will never come. Some folks think that it’s already here. It seems more likely that Salvation has been circling the planet for a very long time but can’t find a suitable place to land! Unless each individual human on Earth starts taking on the serious tasks of saving both themselves and their fellow humans, we will disappear as a species— with or without God’s help.     

There have been many examples of how very capable we are of getting the job done, if we would all just get about doing it.                                                                                 

Ending Political Malfeasance      Some politicians may be less full of shit than others. Maybe not. Maybe some are just better at hiding it. As a rule, politicians get to be more full of shit as they climb higher up the political ladder. Some start out full of shit. Some actually start out with the altruistic intention that would be necessary to do the job correctly. After a period of time, they also succumb to the necessity of playing the game, and the self-interest that has become the basis of political systems.     

The self-interest of the rich and powerful in every society seems to have consistently required the compromise (or martyrdom) of that society’s authentic leaders. Couple that general coercion and threat with the more personalized temptations (money, sex, power, cars, control, etc.) offered to those who would be public servants and leaders, and the result is the sacrifice of moral priorities by those climbing up the ladder and…     

Actually, all of the above is a very shortsighted observation. None of these malfunctions are the fault of individual politicians, even the most despicable ones. It is the duty as well as the right of the public to install the systems and representatives that we want to be governed by. Politicians are indeed full of shit, but the public is responsible for that. We let the situation get out of control and we are the only ones who can potentially reel it back in.     

Politicians don’t rate praise or blame. We do.      

Supposedly, the government is in the process of saving us from several varieties of terrorists. No one has quite figured out who is going to save us from the government, and from the power brokers that bend government to their will. It seems it will have to be us.     

Part of what we built works great. Part of what we built badly needs fixing. It is delusional to think that a few politicians can fix what took several hundred million people to build—and run down.                                                                                    

And The Very Next Ride…       From New Orleans we got a ride with an annoyingly loud evangelist preacher. He was driving his brand new Cadillac to Houston for a big revival meeting that would reap him “many souls and dollars to do HIS work, Amen.” The man was wearing enough money in diamond rings to feed a small nation.     

After about an hour of his self-righteous attempts to convert us in the name of his Lord (who, it seemed, also had a very good credit rating, no concern for humanity, and the ability to prattle on at a pace that would scare the shit out of an auctioneer), we asked to be let off at the next exit.   

“But I’m going all the way to Houston,” said our host, who it seemed had mistaken himself for The Host.   

“Thank you anyway, but we won’t be going with you.” We got out of the car and walked to the nearest town for coffee. Mary showed me what the preacher had inspired her to write during her silent hour in his luxury car’s back seat. She was so impressed by the arrogance of one of his statements that she quoted it as the title.                                                           

“I Think What God Meant to Say”    “You think you know everything, in general. This seems to interfere with you knowing anything specifically. You crisscross the country as quickly as delusions cross your mind, as quickly as mindless platitudes fly from your mouth. You maintain a facade of happiness, but it is only a vehicle for salesmanship. You strive to control the weak and gain stability through materialism. Your pace is too fast, false, and graceless for the normal human to want to learn from. Your only visible value is teaching by negative example. You are what not to do. You are who not to be.     

“You are trapped in the quicksand of your own outdated bullshit. How could you be expected to re-examine preconceived notions when you run so quickly past thought in order to reach manipulation? You don’t have the time or heart to pay attention to your own conscience, much less anyone else’s needs.      Professed internal wholeness is belied by your fragmented external judgments and condemnations. You relay pretentious truths of minimal depth with maximum coercion. I heard them all a thousand lifetimes ago!     Business gets done. Profits, not prophets, have made you pay them a heavy price. It’s not my way.  Go on by yourself!”

Mary was a very smart woman. She was also an exceptionally kindhearted, patient person and rarely had a bad word to say about anyone. I think the few paragraphs above are as ill as she ever spoke of another living thing.       

***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Very entertaining TV/radio interviews with, and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        

***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

We Don’t Crack!

Stupaville Don’t Crack

There is a popular expression in Black America that goes, “Black don’t crack.” The concept, of course, is that after suffering centuries of every imaginable brutal abuse, in a country they physically built but were never allowed to feel at home in, Black folks as a unit have developed an unbreakable resiliency.
The great comedienne Wanda Sykes recently produced a line that gave us a laugh, but is actually too true to be called a joke. Speaking of the president who has fanned the flames of race-related tragedies and so many other American disasters during the past few years, she said, “I can’t believe this motherfucker cracked black! That’s not supposed to happen! He actually cracked black!”
The situation in Nepal is at least as bad, economically and medically, as it is everywhere else. But Stupaville still don’t crack! This roughly ten square block neighborhood that I live in contains at least five large monasteries housing well over a thousand monks and nuns, as well as one of the holiest structures in the Eastern hemisphere. There are a whole lot more Buddhist monks, nuns, and monasteries, as well as Hindu Temples and holy people, in the surrounding city and mountains.
I’m guessing there are about two thousand or so people that aren’t monks or nuns who live in this Boudha Stupa section of Kathmandu, Nepal. They go to work or school every morning like the rest of us. But they all have a bit of happiness and decorum about them that the monks, nuns, and overall cultural influences here are responsible for.
Some of these people have lost their jobs and homes as well as loved ones. Many businesses are closed permanently and for sale. The main income for most business in this relatively affluent neighborhood has previously come from the tourist traffic. That tourist traffic has been nonexistent for almost a year.
It is amazing how many local people still walk around with the kind of internally generated happiness that can only come from a deep faith in the inevitable. They also maintain a strong sense of cooperative community among themselves, and are more grateful for their remaining advantages than they are grieved about those advantages they have lost.
This ability to not crack in the face of severe adversity is even more amazing when you consider the circumstances. Nepal has been a fourth world country for a long time—way before the economic, social, and political manipulation of the coronavirus was even a twinkle in Pfizer’s eye. A vast majority of the folks here live without heat all winter in concrete buildings that could easily function as meat lockers. Lack of refrigeration and a less than consistent electrical service are wide spread, so the people are often chilled much more thoroughly than the meat they will be eating. Many folks were malnourished for a long time before this recent crisis, in spite of the fact that food prices are a fraction of what they are in the Western world. Tuberculosis and many other very unpleasant diseases are by no means a rarity, and the air pollution in Kathmandu is among the worst in the world.
But there is a strong sense of community in Stupaville and, I am told, throughout Nepal. This is an incredible accomplishment considering the history of the area and the diversity of the native population. There are many different sects stemming from the various kingdoms that used to occupy the Kathmandu Valley, as well as the surrounding hills, many centuries ago. These kingdoms often made brutal war as they conquered each other in the olden days. Now most of the descendants of these various small kingdoms keep up with their historical cultural heritages while coexisting peacefully with the descendants of the other tribes.
Although the country is Hindu by a very large majority, other groups are made to feel at home. There are also an exiled Tibetan Buddhist community (much of it here in Stupaville), a healthy representation of Christians, and some Muslim devotees. There seems to be another New Year’s Day celebration here every other month! Each culture has its own. But there is no apparent friction, and a good deal of very visible mutual respect between the tribes these days. People of all sects greet each other with a “Namaste” and the palms of both hands joined in front of their chests. The popular translation of the word Namaste is “I recognize the Divine within you.”
There is no need for any of these groups to have a __ Lives Matter campaign. Police brutality is relatively infrequent and equally distributed among all the people when it does happen. Beggars work several streets in Stupaville. Some are in real need of food. Others just want to get drunk again. Several are scamming to pay the mortgage on a condo in India. Some can be aggressive and follow a potential contributor for blocks, hoping to break him or her down. In previous seasons, when tourists jammed every street, a beggar could make a lot of money by employing this annoying persistence.
Not everyone contributes to them, but I haven’t heard anyone yelling “Leave me alone and get a job, you bum” even once during the near year that I’ve been here. The folks with homes and jobs are polite, if not helpful, to their beggars as well as to each other. Folks here seem to universally recognize that the divine lives in all creatures, no matter how well disguised it may be at times.
The world seems to be changing more rapidly and severely than ever before. It is certainly changing more rapidly and severely than it ever has during our little lifetimes. Whether the Boudha Stupa neighborhood will ever become a Wanda Sykes joke is an ongoing question. But life here in Stupaville, at least for the time being, is still a celebration that stays strong enough to carry around joy in the present and a sweet hope for the future.
I hope it is where you are.
***If you missed the Introduction to the book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier and contain the above chapter, or would like to see several other chapters that are available for free online, go to the Fearless Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You are reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse making a complete journey around the world! **The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through the website or Amazon. (See all the 5 reviews there!) There are also sample chapters from both books at the website. Very entertaining tv/radio interviews with, and newspaper articles about, the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.

How To Get Your Prayers Answered

This short excerpt is from the chapter
How to Get Your Prayers Answered
in the book Reincarnation Through Common Sense
I feel a little uppity and out of place entitling a chapter “How to Get Your Prayers Answered.” Everyone who has ever lived has asked this question at least once. It is unlikely that a person like myself could find any important information about getting prayers answered while rooting around through decades of deep intoxication and a few layers of insanity—and rarely saying a conventional prayer or even believing in the concept.
It seems I may have gotten lucky.

There are three steps to getting your prayers answered. They are:
~1~
Set your hope, wish, prayer, aspiration, desired intent exactly where you want it, worded so that it is short, focused, and sticks to basics.
If your wish includes doing harm, or is of no benefit to others, restructure it. For a first step example, “I hope that nasty bastard dies painfully and that I never meet another asshole like him” probably won’t work too well. “I hope to never meet nasty people from now on and that everyone else has the same good luck” is a much better fit, but not quite good enough. The desired result needs to always be framed in present tense positive achievement. The “I hope…” sentence should be structured to say something like, “I meet nicer people and am one. I welcome help with this.”
If you really want to make big points within this system, say something like the following, and really mean it. “I meet nicer people and am one. I hope that all people, especially that one who has recently acted so nastily toward me, become decent and happy. I thank everything in existence for help in making this happen.” Use whatever you feel comfy with in place of that “everything in existence” bit. God, any representative or representation of God, The Universe, The Force, The Collective Unconscious, Nature, Fate, The Field, The Buddhafield, The Laws Of Physics and the Quantum Field, The Void, Great Spirit, Great Beyond, or whatever name you have for your Bigger-Than-You thing.
The language of positive direction and a benevolent intent are extremely important! Use them. The potent effect of positive language can be seen in Mother Teresa’s comment, “I won’t go to your anti-war rally. If you ever have a peace rally, call me.”
~2~
Empty your mind of everything else.
Don’t treat this step lightly! It is not as simple as it sounds. Most folks can’t sit for a single minute without having an unsolicited thought pop up. Clearing mental clutter will take some work, but it can be very enjoyable. Relax through any initial bits of impatience.
Here’s why this step is so important.
Everything comes from nothing. Whatever you want to put anywhere starts with it not being there yet. Consider that nothing always comes before something. That’s why it can truly be said that there is no thing as real as nothing.
Any background is the birthplace of whatever stands out from it.
Then consider that there can only be 100% of anything and so there can only be 100% of your mind. If 90% of it is rattling around on things other than those that you want in your line of focus, other than fulfilling the prayer—well, you can do the math. The percentage of random thought prattling around in your head needs to be reduced as thoroughly as possible in order to have most of consciousness available for getting your sought after on-purpose intentions fulfilled.
Thoughts will arise, but don’t pay attention to them. Pay attention to the awareness that is recognizing them. To stabilize this ability will take patience, confidence, and consistent effort—especially at first. Practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the easier it gets. There are tried and true methods that have been proven to work. My Temple mates and their ancestors have been using some of them for thousands of years. I strongly recommend a tried and true method because employing your own unassisted mind to clean out the clutter spawned by that very mind would be similar to hiring soldiers to end the concept of war. The cemeteries are full of dead soldiers who would like to tell you that this logic is fatally flawed.
Finding a good teacher with whom a good working rapport can be established is extremely beneficial to your mind-clearing process. The quality of attention paid by the student is more important than who the teacher is—but not by much. Finding a knowledgable, dedicated teacher and bringing all of your attention to the learning process are both very important.
Being overanxious can work against a person who is picking a coach, teacher, or guide. It’s a wonderful thing to get help with this mind-clearing part of the prayer-fulfilling process. But just because one is well motivated and anxious to start doesn’t mean that the first person to come along with a robe, divinity degree, or crystal ball is the right teacher. Try a few sessions each with as many teachers as you care to, and with an open mind. It may take a week or years. When the right time, person, and system for you arrive, it will be obvious.
“We should be very careful who we establish a relationship with as a teacher. First we should check him or her out and allow him or her to check us out. If this doesn’t work out, don’t push it. It is always better to develop a relationship that we can trust, rather than getting into one we are not sure of. This is essential advice. The student and the Lama have to have a strong faith and trust in each other.” Lama Karma Rinchen ~3~. For step 3 and the thread that ties everything together, see Chapter 72 in the book Reincarnation Through Common Sense.