Everything Is Workable

Very first quote and clip since the official release of the Then and Now series.

And it contains a message that stayed with me since I read it the first time a year ago and sometimes there is a situation where it seems there is not much more possible than to think "everything is workable", but you wonder how and what, I mean, it can't simply work by redefining "my" problem, but then indeed somehow something opens up, a new way or at least a new perspective. And sometimes things work out even remarkably well.

And yes, sometimes "things have just flowed extremely easily".

Everything is Workable (from TAN01: Then and Now (class) 00:41:25.20 - 00:45:24.00)

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So whenever you find yourself struggling in life you are experiencing what Gampopa is referring to as samsara. Okay. And I really want to underline this. A lot of people think of samsara as life in the city and of nirvana as life in nature. This is... No. Wherever you’re struggling, that’s samsara.

By contrast, how many of you have experienced situations, interactions with a friend or others, where things have just flown extremely — flowed not flown — extremely easily? There’s absolutely no sense of struggle. You don’t feel... it goes so far that you don’t feel separate from things. You don’t have a really strong sense of “I.” You’re just there. Anybody have this kind of experience? Okay, I want to suggest that is what they are talking about when they say nirvana.

Okay. So we have these two contrasting things: one is struggle; the other is this flow, or peace, or no sense of separation, openness, I mean there are all kinds of words we can come with it.

The rest of this is: how does this come about? So he’s asking, “Who is it that is confused in samsara?” And his answer is, “All sentient beings of the three realms are confused.” Now again, what’s the question here? In a certain sense it’s like, “What am I?”

I experience struggle. I experience confusion. Where does that come from? Why do I have to deal with it? And he gives all of these answers, which are very good answers, but they’re a little removed from our own experience.

’Cause he says, “Where does the confusion come from?” His answer: “Confusion comes from emptiness.” Now how helpful is that as an answer? [laughter] You’re laughing, I mean, is it helpful? I want to suggest that it’s extremely helpful.

Because when he says the confusion comes from emptiness, he’s saying in effect, it isn’t something that is fixed. It doesn’t... you know how that sense of struggle can seem solid, like it’s carved in stone, like there’s no possibility of working with it? Anybody have that sense of things? Okay. So when he says it’s coming from emptiness, he’s says that that way of perceiving things is not true.

One way Trungpa, and I think other teachers have said this, what’s being said here, is that all situations are workable. There isn’t anything we experience which isn’t workable. It may be extremely difficult but everything is workable. That’s quite a profound statement.

Student: Except the IRS.

Ken: Got tax troubles lately, Pat?