Alex Wright

Going to the forest

July 6, 2007

In the past few weeks since my book came out, I have found myself falling prey to what must be a common malady for newly published authors: neurotic ego-surfing. Between reading blog posts, trying to resist the urge to look at sales figures, and waiting around anxiously for the next review, I seem to have become entirely too preoccupied with what other people think.

Which has left me in the grips of what some Buddhist teachers would call "poverty mentality," or relying too much on others for a sense of worth. So when I recently stumbled across this passage from a talk by
Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, it seemed like timely advice:

Question: So many texts talk about going to the forest - "Give everything up, just go and do it, you've got such a short time..." What would you describe as the forest for us today? Is that available for us, like us Buddhists living in London?

Rinpoche: Actually it's much easier than going to the forest. Going to the forest, you have to walk there, then you have to build a hut. Then you'll miss the shower ... But when you get up in the morning, really try to see how much are you looking for praise. Are you fishing for praise? Are you fishing for a compliment? "O yes, I am", then you say "Now, don't fish for a compliment." You are in the forest then. And then, maybe one hour later you think "Am I afraid of criticism? Am I afraid of being criticized, stigmatized? Am I? Yes I am, I am afraid of being left out, being ignored, being abandoned. Oh I shouldn't do that, who cares?" You are now in the forest. It's much better.

File under: Glut

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