September 6, 2017

The Power of Discontent: Timely Teachings from Chögyam Trungpa.

“It is important to see that the main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego. This means stepping out of ego’s constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgment, comfort, or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism


I’ve been thinking a lot about escape lately—and the comforts of home.

Escape is a myth, an illusion. There is no escape. This is it. Here we are.

Yet, paradoxically, there are many escapes—even more than the good old standards like binge-drinking, drug use, overeating, sex, TV, caffeine, and shopping. Reading, writing, and speaking just to hear oneself talk can all be forms of escape. Even yoga and meditation can serve as escapes and feed our addictive personalities.

I have created a comfortable home. I have an awesome life—which is not to say that I don’t have struggles and stresses—but, my struggles and stresses have evolved and diminished incredibly due to the lifestyle I have chosen to live. One of simplicity, natural beauty, mindfulness, and loving kindness. 

This life I am currently living has bloomed and flourished thanks to discontent. In my 20s, I was discontent with the standard life I had been conditioned to embrace: the hamster wheel of school, higher education, attainment of degrees, career promotions, two-week vacations, professional existence until retirement, and death.

Even earlier, I was discontent with the dogma I had been conditioned to believe—that I was an “original sinner,” full of faults, needing to confess, repent, and be redeemed or saved. That Jesus was the perfect, white-skinned, blue-eyed son of God, crucified for my sake. I was discontent with the contents of my mind, my moodiness, my manic depression, my irrational anxiety, my being told to just take one of these pills every day to make the pain go away.

Now, it’s clear to see that my discontent was a great gift.

“Let your discontentment be a catalyst to change your life. Disappointment is actually precisely what we need.

The attainment of enlightenment from the ego’s point of view is extreme death, the death of self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher. It is the ultimate and final disappointment.

We fall down and down, until we touch the ground, until we relate to the basic sanity of the earth.

We are just a speck of dust in the midst of the universe. At the same time, our situation is very spacious, very beautiful and workable. In fact, it is very inviting, inspiring. If you are a grain of sand, the rest of the universe, all the space, all the room is yours, because you obstruct nothing, overcrowd nothing, possess nothing. There is tremendous openness.

You are the emperor of the universe because you are a grain of sand. The world is very simple and at the same time very dignified and open, because your inspiration is based upon disappointment, which is without the ambition of ego.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation

Liberal, heart-centered Americans are discontent with our government—to say the least.

Donald Trump and his ilk are bringing all our deepest, ugliest shadows to light. Which is ultimately good, or could be, if we use this discontent not to become hateful and divisive, but to open to change, to compromise, to dialogue, and understanding.

If we seek to transcend dogma and conditioning.

May our present discontentment be the catalyst to change our culture, to change our society, by first letting it change ourselves—right where we are.


Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus
Image: Pixabay
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron

Read 1 Comment and Reply

Read 1 comment and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Michelle Margaret Fajkus  |  Contribution: 56,495