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Overcoming the confusion and aggression in our own state of mind

If we try to solve society’s problems without overcoming the confusion and aggression in our own state of mind, then our efforts will only contribute to the basic problems, instead of solving them.

“Some people feel that the world’s problems are so pressing that social and political action should take precedence over individual development. They may feel that they should sacrifice their own needs completely in order to work for a larger cause. In its extreme form, this kind of thinking justifies individual neurosis and aggression as purely a product of a troubled society, so that people feel they can hold on to their neurosis and even use their aggression to try to effect change. According to the Shambhala teachings, however, we have to recognize that our individual experience of sanity is inherently linked to our vision for a good human society. So we have to take things one step at a time. If we try to solve society’s problems without overcoming the confusion and aggression in our own state of mind, then our efforts will only contribute to the basic problems, instead of solving them. That is why the individual journey of warriorship must be undertaken before we can address the larger issue of how we can help this world. Still, it would be extremely unfortunate if Shambhala vision were taken as purely another attempt to build ourselves up while ignoring our responsibilities to others. The point of warriorship is to become a gentle and tamed human being who can make a genuine contribution to the world. The warrior’s journey is based on discovering what is intrinsically good about human existence and how to share that basic goodness with others. There is a natural order and harmony to this world, which we can discover. But we cannot just study that order scientifically or measure it mathematically. We have to feel it – in our bones, in our hearts, in our minds. If we are thoroughly trained in the disciplines of warriorship, then by invoking the drala principle, we can reawaken that intimate connection to reality. That provides the ground to work with others in a genuine and gentle fashion.”

Chögyam Trungpa

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