Discovering Limiting Patterns

Path of Action: Day 34

Just think how much of what we regard as true has been given to us by our language and our conditioning!

We think thoughts passed on to us by others.

We use words with little regard for what they really mean, almost as if they were meaningless noises.

When we do produce our own original thoughts, they are sooner or later taken up in the endless recycling of what has been established as true. One established point points to another. ‘This’ confirms ‘that’. Spinning round and round, we imitate ourselves, our concepts, and the features of mind we have set in place.

So much effort, and so little to show for it!

In following established patterns, we are like young children learning to speak, simply adopting as our own whatever we are taught. There are accepted ways to eat, to sleep, to talk; accepted forms of social interaction; accepted gestures and reactions. We all know what is normal, and we respond accordingly. Human beings like to think of themselves as rational, but the only logic in such a way of life is the logic of what is accepted and what is acceptable.

Getting stuck on this level means losing touch with the more subtle levels of our intelligence, which could serve as the source of independent understanding. Each new experience is an opportunity that can be approached creatively, with fresh vision. But that is not how we operate.

Such self-imposed restrictions are painful to see in operation, because they close off the chance for more learning and more enjoyment that each moment brings. But work gives us the opportunity to see how we set up and accept limits.

This is deeply important.

Until we discovering the patterns that shape our experience and our lives, we will have no way to change them.


Path of Action, by Tarthang Tulku is an unpublished work. Please do not copy, remix or republish this post or any others in this series without express permission from Mandala Training.