From: Chö 5Full transcript
"Beginning with our enemies that provoke anger, impediments that generate harm, conditions that cause interruptions, obsessions with mortality, local disturbances, physical disturbances, and our own parents. In short, all sentient beings whose numbers are as infinite as space will obtain the direct understanding of the Supreme Mother. Consequently, I take up the profound practice of the holy ground where obsessions are cut down."
There are eight sources of disturbances. Let’s go through them again. Enemies that provoke anger, that’s number one. Impediments that generate harm; conditions that cause interruptions; obsessions with mortality, that’s number four; local disturbances; physical disturbances; and mother and father. That makes eight, right?
The language of chö is all about inviting demons. But what you’re really doing is working with what is arising in you.
When something arises and provokes anger, you move out of presence, right? So, anything which gives rise to the disturbance of anger in you is included in that “enemies that provoke anger.”
When we encounter impediments in our practice, things that block us, then our practice goes to pieces. And all of us know what happens when our practice goes to pieces: really good things happen in our life. Okay? We experience harm, emotionally, spiritually, possibly even physically. So anything that comes up in our experience that, bang, blocks our practice—it’s an impediment—you’re also inviting here.
Conditions that cause interruptions. This is not quite as strong as the things that block the practice, but these are things that interrupt, you know. We get a lot of business. And so we’re so involved with our business and earning lots of money that our practice goes down the tubes for a couple of months.
Or we fall in love. I’ve found that falling in love is the worst obstacle to most people’s practice. People become totally unworkable when they’re in love. It’s not the same as loving someone. When they’re in love they become unworkable, you know. When a student comes in and says, “I just met someone.” I go, “Oh shit!” [Laughter]
Okay, but there can be other things. Any set of conditions—the loss of someone close to you, a relative getting sick, losing your job—all of these kinds of things. These are conditions that cause interruptions in one’s practice.
Obsessions with mortality. Actually, these “obsessions” include the four obsessions: the classical obsessions, obsessions with mortality, obsessions with reactive emotions, obsessions with peak experiences, and obsessions with physical being. But particularly obsessions with mortality, that’s something that gives rise to a great deal of anxiety and fear in us.
Local disturbances. These are places that hold a charge for us and give rise to disturbance in mind. Because we may have associations with them. Something unpleasant may have happened, so we’re uncomfortable going to that place. In Tibet, these were regarded as local deities and things like that. But it’s anything which causes us disturbance coming from the physical environment.
Physical disturbances refers to things happening in our body which causes disturbance. Which can be illness; it can be pains, arthritis, you know, things like that. They can be actual physical illnesses or psychosomatic stuff, doesn’t make any difference. Anything that’s happening in the body that causes disturbance.
And most of us have a little bit of baggage connected with our parents which causes us some anxiety or some frustration or some irritation. And then there’s the rest of humanity, which can be an absolute pain in the neck sometimes too.
So these are the eight demons or eight sources of disturbance. And this what we are working with in chö. But the point is, in effect, what we’re working to cut through is the disturbance that arises in us.