Want To Escape

Chogyam Trungpa
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Q: Many people are aware of the truth of suffering but do not move on to the second step, awareness of the origin of suffering. Why is that?

A: I think that it is largely a matter of paranoia. We want to escape. We want to run away from pain rather than regard it as a source of inspiration. We feel the suffering to be bad enough, so why investigate it further? Some people who suffer a great deal and realize that they cannot escape their suffering really begin to understand it. But most people are too busy attempting to rid themselves of irritation, too busy seeking distractions from themselves to look into the material they already have. It is too embarassing to look into it. This is the attitude of paranoia: if you look too closely, you will find something fearful. But in order to be a completely inspired person, you have to be very open-minded and intelligent, an inquisitive person. You have to want to explore everything, even though it may be ugly, painful or repulsive. This kind of scientific-mindedness is very important.

Q: Perhaps a person can grow into some kind of openness, compassion with regard to other people. But then he finds that even this compassion is still limited, still a pattern. Do we always rely on our openness to carry us through? Is there any way to make sure we are not fooling ourselves?

A: That is very simple. If we fool ourselves at the beginning, there will some kind of agreement that we automatically make with ourselves. Surely everyone has experienced this. For instance, if we are speaking to someone and exaggerating our story, before we even open our mouths we will say to ourselves, "I know I am exaggerating, but I would like to convince this person." We play this little game all the time. So it is a question of really getting down to the nitty-gritty of being honest and fully open with ourselves. Openness to other people is not the issue. The more we open to ourselves, completely and fully, then that much more openness radiates to others. We really know when we are fooling ourselves, but we try to play deaf and dumb to our own self-deception.

-- Chogyam Trungpa, in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism