"Recognizing as Wonderment
As a yogi or meditator, when we see the contrast between what we think and what is, we are struck by how foolish we’ve been. Seeing all that we’ve made so important or tried to belittle, all the story lines and big dramas we’ve created from our mind’s inability to rest, we are wonderstruck at how ignorant we have been. We are amazed at the stark contrast between the “nature as is” and everything that we conjure up, deliberate on, and create.
As a retreatant, you must work with this for the period of time you are in retreat.
The state of wonderment and amazement at all we create is in contrast to the simple nature that requires none of it to be understood. It is in this state that most yogis and mahasiddhas create great poetry. And it is in this state that most pointing out instructions, yogic dohas, and great poetry such as the songs of Milarepa belong. The great bodhisattvas, masters, and mahasiddhas—amazed by the ignorance of sentient beings unable to understand the simplicity of their own basic nature—have tried to point out through their teachings and compositions what the true nature is, and what the many immense causes of samsara are.
Wonderment at such contrast leads to the longing to sustain this state. And from the yearning to sustain the space and quietness of the basic nature arises the fourth state of recognition, “familiarization.”
Recognizing as Familiarity
At this point—just as you would try to protect the flame of a lamp by covering it with your hands—you want to protect the mind that sustains a state of equanimity, silence, and simplicity. You now long to familiarize yourself with your basic nature, to become more united with it. You also know the power of distractions that result from being immersed in the creation and unceasing attachment to sense activities. And you know that the winds of samsaric distractions and habitual patterns are strong enough to blow out the basic quietude and spaciousness of your fundamental nature.
So, from your heart you begin to pray, to supplicate, and to practice. These are the “hands” that protect the flame. The natural discipline of your prayers, supplications, and daily practice arises from a mind that recognizes how much it needs protection.
Having introduced yourself to unbroken equanimity and quietude, you must sustain it. When you really understand this, then inseparable samadhi and spaciousness will be truly virtuous and beneficial for everyone.
An analogy for this process might be the way each bead of your mala leads to the next bead, with each bead identical to the next—with a thread keeping them all together, without which you couldn’t even count the beads. In the same way—having recognized your basic nature and its pervasiveness—you see how each moment enters the next, on the unbroken thread of familiarity with your basic nature.
To gain fluency and naturalness in abiding in the basic nature, your growing self—awareness must be bound with the thread of the practices and skillful methods entrusted to you. As one moment leads to the next, you meet each moment with introspection, research, and analysis.
Going deeper into your basic nature, you then realize that everything is “method.” Sitting and meditating is a method; not doing anything in particular is a method. All engaged activity and all virtue are methods, and all the mundane activities you engage in are methods.
Beyond that, your basic primordial nature is completely free, with no need of projections or deliberations to sustain it."
MINDROLING JETSUN KHANDRO RINPOCHE