Developing Appreciation

By Tergar Meditation Community • 5 min read

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One in ten

It’s said that if we have ten qualities, one of which is negative and nine of which are positive, we’ll focus on the one to the exclusion of the other nine. Not only that, we’ll exaggerate that bad one. Although the good qualities are right there within us and all around us, if we fail to recognize them, there’s not much they can do for us. But if we recognize them, it opens up a world of possibilities.

Hidden in plain sight

Let’s say you have a million dollars’ worth of cash stashed under your sofa. If you don’t understand the concept of currency, that cash won’t do you a bit of good. Not so much as a single sandwich can be bought with it, not a single utility bill can be paid, if your view of the situation is, “Look at this mess of paper. I’d better throw it out, so it doesn’t attract mice.” If you do recognize it as money, that’s a whole different story! Your basic innate goodness is the same situation. You possess awareness, love, compassion, wisdom, skills, and potential in great abundance. There’s so much there — and that’s not getting into any of the details! But they need to be recognized for them to fully manifest. Once they do begin to manifest, you’ll feel like you are getting something new and valuable. In truth, though, it’s nothing new. You’ve been sitting on this storehouse of wealth all along.

 

Allowing for everything

In this tradition of meditation, the starting point is to watch the breath, while allowing everything that arises in your mind to come and go. This applies whether what comes up is good, bad, inspiring, confusing, clear, doubtful, loving, angry, or anything else. As far as awareness is concerned, all these experiences are like clouds — gorgeous clouds, ugly clouds, even toxic clouds — it’s all the same to the sky. It cannot truly be sullied, and neither can your true nature, which is always present, pure, and wonderful, manifesting in countless different ways in every moment. At bottom, even hatred is a manifestation of love: you feel aversion because you object to something that you see as not good, unsafe, or unfair. You tighten, and it becomes hatred, but it comes from your desire to be happy (love) and free from suffering (compassion). And understanding this in yourself allows you to be more caring and tolerant of others, actually, because you also understand it in them. To allow yourself to be with difficult feelings, without clinging to them or feeding them, while seeing them for what they truly are — that is skillful. Knowing is awareness, recognition is wisdom, and allowing is love and compassion.

“Our very own awareness is itself fundamentally pure and good. The only problem is that we get so caught up in the ups and downs of life that we don’t take the time to pause and notice what we already have.”

– Mingyur Rinpoche –

Let go of the rope

Another method by which we can discover these wonderful qualities within ourselves is through appreciation. Remember those nine positive qualities? You can teach yourself to look for them. However, bear in mind that the human mind loves a game of tug o’ war, so if you tell yourself you’re only going to focus on the positive, your thoughts are likely to pull in the opposite direction and zero in on the negative. Let go of the rope. Rather than trying to tune out the negative, try to observe whatever happens through the perspective of appreciation. Even in the midst of disasters, generosity and kindness still exist. In any crisis, you will find sentient beings helping and supporting one another. In any conflict, you will see those who risk their own safety and well-being to come to another’s aid. There are beneficial teachings in every situation, but in order to see them, you have to be able to discern, acknowledge, and appreciate them. When you do that, then you will really grow. You will have a real transformation!

 

And the beauty of it is . . .

To achieve this transformation, you don’t need to attain any special status, take any special actions, or chase after a goal. You simply have to recognize that those bundles of paper under your sofa are money, and what that means. At that point, you’ll feel as though you’ve just come into a million bucks — but it was with you all the time. In every moment, every breath, every thought, the qualities of awareness, love, compassion, and wisdom are manifesting within us.

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About the Author

By Tergar Meditation Community Team

Tergar Meditation Community supports individuals, practice groups, and meditation communities around the world in learning to live with awareness, compassion, and wisdom. Grounded in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage of our guiding teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, our online and in-person programs are accessible to people of all cultures and faiths, and support a lifelong path toward the application of these principles in everyday life.

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