Awareness and Negative Self-Talk


In his book The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secrets & Science of Happiness, Buddhist master and teacher Yongey Mingur Rinpoche tells us in no uncertain terms: “You’re not the limited, anxious person you think you are. Any trained Buddhist teacher can tell you with all the conviction of personal experience that, really, you’re the very heart of compassion, completely aware, and fully capable of achieving the greatest good, not only for yourself, but for everyone and everything you can imagine.”

The true nature of the mind, Rinpoche tells us, is immune to the vagaries of the neuronal sniping and gossip that so often blocks our appreciation of this fundamental vastness, openness and peaceful state. The incessant stream of thoughts and emotions babbling through our minds leaves little space to appreciate, let alone experience, the immeasurable value of these qualities.

With a wry twist, Rinpoche writes that our limited self-image is an example of how the natural mind is capable of producing anything, even ignorance of its own nature. From this perspective, our limited self-image can be appreciated, even be celebrated, as a concrete experience of awareness: “Whenever we feel fear, sadness, jealousy, desire, or any other emotion that contributes to her sense of bone or ability or weakness, we should give ourselves a nice pass on the back. We just experienced the unlimited nature of the mind.” These feelings of limitation, we are told, are habits that can be unlearned through the practice of awareness through mindful meditation.