A question of honesty


“Becoming a warrior and facing yourself is a question of honesty rather than condemning yourself. By looking at yourself, you may find that you’ve been a bad boy or girl and you may feel terrible about yourself. Your existence may feel wretched, completely pitch black, like the Black Hole of Calcutta. Or you may see something good about yourself.

The idea is simply to face the facts. Honesty plays a very important part. Just see the simple, straightforward truth about yourself. When you begin to be honest with yourself, you develop a genuine gut-level of truth. That is not necessarily cutting yourself down. Simply discover what is there. Simply see that and then stop.

So, first, look at yourself but don’t condemn yourself. It’s important to be matter-of-fact, on-the-spot. Just look. And when you see the situation in its fullest way, then you begin to be a warrior.

When you acknowledge that you feel so wretched, you can be fully cheerful. That is the interesting twist. You are being a wholesome, honest person.

Usually, we aren’t this honest. You may think you can cheat the universe. And out of that, you develop all sorts of naughty or neurotic potentialities, convincing yourself that you do not have to look into your situation honestly.

However, when you are just there, then if you see the actual darkness, that will inspire light or sunrise. You begin to find that you are a genuine person. You begin to feel good and solid, and beyond that, more than solid, more than real, you realise that you have guts of some kind. Buddha nature is in you already because you are so true to yourself, true in the sense of being unconditionally honest.

In fact, there is no such thing as the true self, the solidly real self. When you see yourself genuinely, you find that the concept of reality actually starts to fade. Instead, you find a very large space there, which is unconditional and contains ventilation and breathing space. When you have seen yourself fully, you begin to feel unconditionally good …”

~ From Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery by Chögyam Trungpa

Image: “Make sure you get my dark side”; sourced from Facebook, captioned by one of my Landmark teachers, Zoe Masters.



9 thoughts on “A question of honesty

  1. I read this book. Recognized the passage the moment I began reading it. I remember thinking that this definition of being a warrior is so enlightened. On of the most courageous things a person can do is to look unflinchingly into one’s own heart and not judge. Facing and befriending the ever-present internal judge/enemy takes more bravery than facing a legion of external enemies!


    • Honey, that’s exactly what he’s talking about, when you don’t like yourself too much. Underneath the stuff we don’t like, we do like, the stuff we think is good or bad, underneath it all is a different goodness, a goodness with no conditions attached.

      “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
      there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

      When the soul lies down in that grass,
      the world is too full to talk about.
      Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.” (Rumi)



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