Meditation in Everyday Life

How to Connect To Your True Self

By Tergar Community Team • 5 min read


The true self

To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Similar or related advice has been espoused by many, from Socrates to Lady Gaga. When it comes to meditation and the true self, knowing yourself is part of connecting to your basic wisdom. And basic wisdom is the true cause of happiness, freedom, and all the good qualities within you. If you connect with basic wisdom, you will become happy and liberated; you’ll develop love and compassion. You’ll be successful, in both spiritual matters and in the material world of work and relationships. You will be of service to yourself and to others.

Basic wisdom and the true self

At heart, we all wish to be happy. This is love. We all wish to be free from suffering. This is compassion. These are two components of basic wisdom. Another is our understanding that life entails impermanence. Sure, your mind loves making all kinds of claims about permanence. “I will adore him until the end of time!” “I wouldn’t be caught dead voting for the other party!” “I’m going to hold onto this job forever!” However, if you examine these claims a little more closely, you’ll admit that you are probably not totally convinced that life is so impervious to change. And if you dig down deeper still, you’ll find that you are, in fact, conscious of impermanence.

Uh, can we change the subject?

Sometimes, the way we experience this consciousness of impermanence feels like … well, it’s hard to explain, even to ourselves, but it isn’t fun. Loneliness might be one way we experience it. Or fear. This is because, even though we know the nature of reality is fundamentally uncertain, we don’t allow ourselves to sit with it. So when a feeling of uncertainty comes up — which is actually a sign of basic wisdom at work — the habitual mind reacts with, “Uh-oh! That freaks me out!” And it starts pulling hard in the opposite direction, insisting that no, permanence is real! At that point, your mind is fighting itself. And that’s what makes you feel lonely, or scared, or sad, or weird.

“Everything is a manifestation of wisdom — we just need to see the full picture.”

– Mingyur Rinpoche –

Go deeper to feel better

Luckily, your deeper mind understands the nonconceptual state, in which nothing is fixed. It understands that negative feelings like hatred, jealousy, fear, and anger only exist on the surface, and that beneath the waves of emotion, basic wisdom is always there. And if you’re willing to loosen your grip on those feelings just a little, you’ll find you can connect with your basic wisdom. For instance, let’s say a cranky colleague loses their temper in your presence. If you aren’t clinging tightly to your habitual mind, you might experience a little gap in that moment, a spaciousness. And in that gap, you don’t feel bad, as you usually would. Or for example, imagine that, feeling bored, you heave a heavy sigh. In that moment of that exhale, your mind relaxes. In that relaxation, there’s an openness.

Recognizing the true self

Ultimately, of course, you want to be happy, which demonstrates that you have love. And you don’t want to suffer, which shows that you have compassion. Those are just a couple of the many wonderful qualities that are present within us at every moment. We only need to recognize them.

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More Resources

Basic Goodness and Awareness

Learn more about how the practice of meditation can help us connect with the true self

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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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