Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche on Change

We’ve all heard the saying “the only constant is change.” Yet, how good are we in times of change? Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche teaches in his talk Power of Change that when we hold against change, we create angst.

Whether we like it or not, change is the nature of life. Change is the universe’s energy. Change is opportunity. There is always a reason for change; because changes are not mistakes. When we ignore this, it is suffering. As long as we fight against change and believe it is undesirable, we cannot be liberated from this suffering, from this attachment. Let whatever is going out of your life to leave.

We however get to choose what kind of change we want. The struggle with making a decision, like being happy, is that most people worry about making a mistake. So they look, research, read what their friends are saying on Facebook, see what celebrities or the big names are tweeting … and they hedge.

This is the biggest mistake – being afraid of making mistakes.

There are no mistakes, when we learn from them. If we never make “mistakes” we never learn. It’s time we remodel the definition and parameters of “failure.”

A Very Personal Story

For the longest time, I struggled with the possibility of putting my dog to sleep. I know it is humane to end any suffering and I definitely did not want my dog to be suffering. The challenge is not to judge what suffering and quality of life is for another being, from our own filters, definitions, and frame of mind.

My mind was also filled with terror. The idea of what euthanasia is has been built on one singular idea. Years ago, my closest friend shared how she couldn’t put her dogs to sleep and her boyfriend had to, and how terrible it was for him. That was years and years ago. Perhaps this emotional memory was further warped by my grief over the passing of my own dog and cat around the same time.

I struggled not only about making the right decision for my dog; I also struggled with all the emotional chaos that was raging inside and wrapped with it, all that my dog was for me and represented to me. Was I killing her or releasing her? I prayed for guidance, wisdom, and the courage to listen deeply to her needs over the wails of my own breaking heart.

I too had to transform this idea that I was failing her. My friends will comfort me in reminding me what a fabulous life I had with her and she with me. I remember another friend saying that with big dogs anything over 10 is a gift. I had seven years of a gift and really, that is amazing. Regardless of the number of years we were together, just having her – this sweet spirit – with me at all is in itself a gift.

So in the end, I braved this divide and the vet came to help her transition. That afternoon, as the birds sang outside, my whole mental construct of what euthanasia looks like cracked wide open. Even without the full dose, my beautiful sweet dog relaxed, all the tension melted away, and she walked out of her body quietly, peacefully.

Two Kinds of Problems

If we think about it, 98 problems we have exist in our mind. They are our projections. They disappear after meditation, coming back into silence. There are only two problems, Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche says, and even then they are not really a problem.

The two kinds of problems are – problems you can change and problems you can’t change. So if you can change it, it’s not a problem. And if you cannot change it, it’s also not a problem. We have so many problems because we don’t want to change what can be changed. And we try, try, try, and try to change what we cannot change.

I tried to change the ending of my dog’s life, by trying different remedies and therapies, and even asking her to go if she’s ready. So that I didn’t have to change. My lesson was changing what I could change, which is my own self. That weekend before her passing, I intensified my releasing process, of my attachment to her, of my fears around euthanasia, of the life we had together and the life she represented…I meditated, I did Jin Shin Jyutsu Self Help, I Ho’oponopono’d, I hugged her, I spoke with her… I made it not a problem, I made it a gift and released myself from this suffering that I was inflicting on myself. Of course I didn’t know we were at the end. We must change, without expectations of how it will be. And yes, it takes courage. When we reach deep, that strength really is there.