Wisdom has to be a practical realisation of our true self,
as opposed to adherence to a mistaken self
which causes our confusion, and therefore, our suffering.
We are not condemning this mistaken self, this acquired ‘me’: we are clarifying it, making it efficient for the spiritual purpose for which it was created. This mistaken self is our history – and our path to liberation. It’s our karma. We use this mistaken self to organise our life, to develop capacities and to gain a healthy attitude towards this self, so that we are no longer frightened of ourselves, stressed, or living in a dream state.
This mistaken, acquired self has either a high self-esteem – creating positive emotions – or a low self-esteem, which is the cause of negative emotions. Isn’t it the case that if we have a low self-opinion, we have more negative emotions, and when we have a high self-opinion, we have more positive emotions? This is pride and inverted pride.
For practical purposes, we need to be somewhere in the middle. This is the value of wisdom. To clarify this mistaken self image, we must first be clear about our true nature, our essence, which is natural clarity, empty of contamination. If you want, it’s our true self. This is what the pointing out instruction of Dzogchen is about; we recognise that we – our true nature – are pure awareness, pure consciousness. It’s what we are before all those opinions. Once recognised, all we have to do is sustain this pure awareness, while being cognisant of any distractions in the mind that create obstacles; those positive and negative reactions – yes, even positive reactions can send us into a dream state.
Through meditation, this self comes to rest in calm abiding, as this self is only an image in the mind. As a result of this practice, we gain insight into our selfless self. Gradually we realise what is important in life; undoing our history – the result of previous actions – karma. That is why we are here. Or, we can just keep on creating more and more history, more complexity, more emotions, more suffering.
Practical wisdom is eliminating suffering by realising that it never existed – ever! It was all in the mind. We have been constantly reacting to an illusion, and so we became deluded.
The whole point of practical wisdom is to become dis-illusioned, no long bound by the illusion. When we know, it doesn’t have to be translated by someone else. That is how wisdom is practical – it is self-known!
We are all weighty with enlightened qualities. We are Rinpoches.
May you decide to make wisdom practical for your self next year, and complete what you started!