A couple months ago, Geshe Gyalten made an interesting point by mentioning that how limited someone becomes depends on what they identify with. If someone identifies with limited phenomena like their body, thoughts, and feelings, they themselves become limited. For example, if someone identifies with their emotions, if a happy emotion appears, they say “I’m happy”, and if a sad emotion appears, they say “I’m sad.” By identifying with limited phenomena that is constantly in change, a person’s identity becomes bound to conditions they don’t necessarily have control over.
If someone identifies with something larger and more expansive, for instance their mind and its potential, then one’s own potential expands.
Qualities of Mind
To help drive the point, he explained four qualities of mind.
- By nature, mind is primordially free of stains
- By nature, the mind has an infinite capacity to know
- By nature, the mind has an infinite capacity to give and receive love
- By nature, the mind has infinite potential to create change
Even though mind is broken down into these four basic points, mind in actuality has infinite qualities.
Running the Spiritual Track
Many people want to practice a spiritual path and to make progress on it. According to Geshe-la, unless someone knows the potential of mind and understands what it is we’re identifying with, it becomes difficult to practice a spiritual path. There will always lingering feelings of doubt, wondering if we’re practicing the right things, or sometimes even less joy in practice. By understanding the potential of mind and knowing to identify with its basic nature, we create a solid foundation of spiritual practice that is rooted in joy.
As he mentions, once this understanding has been made, someone finally is on the spiritual racing track and is ready to run.