Nirvana, or whatever you want to call it, means the complete deconstruction of all of our rigid mental patterns and habits as well as the deconstruction of all of our limiting beliefs. This deconstruction creates a space for true inquiry. When we open our hearts and our minds completely, we are in a place where we can experience something new, a new truth, a new reality, a miracle that we haven’t experienced in the past. We can see things differently and they present new, expanded opportunities, new horizons. Therefore an open mind is required. This is true not only in relationship to the truth but in relationship to everyday life as well.
For example, when I first came to the U.S., I was very close-minded and very close-hearted about Western food. I was very afraid of two things, the tomato and the avocado. The tomato reminded me of a clot of blood and the avocado reminded me of some kind of very repulsive grease. I had pictures in my mind and stories about them simply because my mind and my heart were not open to them. I was trying to defend my old belief systems about taste and diet. I wasn’t ready to open my heart to the tomato and the avocado. There was no way. All of these negative thoughts kept coming into my mind. “Well, the tomato may be delicious. Perhaps I should try it sometime, but not today. Maybe tomorrow or in another few months I will be ready to taste the avocado, but definitely not now.”
Actually there was really no good reason not to try a tomato or an avocado, but my mind came up with one reason after another. “Maybe it isn’t delicious. Maybe it’s disgusting. It looks like blood, very yucky.” This was enough to keep me from trying either the tomato or the avocado and so my heart wasn’t open for a very long time. Then one day, accidentally, my mind and my heart were totally open to the tomato and the avocado and I tried them. They were quite good. Now I love avocados and tomatoes so much that I actually cannot imagine life without them. They are truly amazingly delicious. They have totally changed my life. Sometimes I feel like holding my palms together in praise to express my gratitude to the tomato and the avocado.
The truth is similar to that. We just don’t open our heart and mind because we haven’t experienced the benefit of that. Once we have experienced the truth, there isn’t even an issue. There is no worry. The whole question of whether we are ready to open our heart and mind to the truth isn’t even a concern.
Reprinted with permission of Snow Lion Publications.
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
This is the first of your five free articles this month. Subscribe today to gain access to our award-winning publication plus all of our online offerings, including films, video dharma talks, e-books, and more.Subscribe Now
Already a subscriber? Log in.