Completing the Process

Completing the Process (from TAN01: Then and Now (class) 00:59:40.95 - 01:02:40.10)

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Jessica: Why is it that when you practice for a while and then you stop practicing, the energy that you’ve built up in the practice then goes back into that cycle even worse?

Ken: Well, electricity is a good example. You put a lightning rod on top of your house to lead the electricity down into the ground. And practice, in a certain sense, is a way of grounding us very profoundly. Okay? Now suppose you leave that nice iron spike on top of your house but you break the connection with the ground. Now what happens?

Jessica: I don’t know, but it’s not good.

Ken: Well, lightning is far more likely to strike your house and kaboom! So when you build up some energy, but are no longer making an effort in attention, that energy’s going to go somewhere. And it’s going to flow where there are habituated patterns; but because there’s more energy in the system, the habituated patterns are going to be stronger. You follow?

And your question is quite relevant here because Gampopa’s just said samsara doesn’t dissolve itself, so we start working on it. And it becomes important once you start working on it to complete the process because otherwise you end up worse than before.

Jessica: What does that mean, really: “completing the process?”

Ken: Well I think there are different stages of completion, but at the very least, come to a point where there is a self-sustaining shift in the system.