Finding Freedom through a Change in Focus

– excerpts from Tenzin 
Wangyal Rinpoche’s book Tibetan Sound Healing

There is a considerable amount of power related to where we focus our 
attention. Every time we dislike something and struggle with a 
situation, a person, our own health, or even our own identity, we 
focus on the negative. The experience is negative. We often 
continue in this way instead of finding another solution. We are 
trapped.

Monk and Mountains

©Hartwig Kopp-Delaney

“Why am I feeling this?” “Why is this person doing this?” 
We continue on and on. What’s the point of repeating these 
thoughts? If we are saying a mantra, we repeat it to accumulate the 
positive result of the mantra. There is power in the accumulation. 
But repeating, “Why am I always doing this?” or “Why is this person 
always acting like this?” is not only asking the wrong questions, but 
continues to solidify a sense of problem, especially when we repeat 
them more than three times! Repeating the same question over and 
over is the result of the restlessness of no awareness and no 
solution. When we ask the same question again and again, we will 
find the wrong answer. Even if the question is a good one, if we are 
asking it from the wrong space, the result will not be good.

In this 
practice of the Five Warrior Syllables, we are focusing on the space 
or focusing on the energy or focusing on one of the Four Immeasurable 
qualities. Focus on anything except the tired, negative pathway of 
your repetition of a problem. If you are able to do that, then 
positive changes are possible. A very common problem is not 
recognizing that we need to change our focus altogether. 

Perhaps you have heard this familiar advice: “Let go. Just let go.” 
There is wisdom in it. But perhaps you have not completely 
discovered that wisdom. When we say, “Let go,” we usually focus on 
what is going rather than what is revealed when you let something 
go. By always focusing on the object or problem, the wisdom is not 
discovered; it is overlooked, and therefore it remains obscured.

So we come back to simply being. What could it mean to be? Don’t 
think about a problem for the moment. Don’t occupy yourself for this 
moment. Just get out of the familiar system of worry altogether. 
Breathe. Feel whatever is in this moment. If the sky is clear and 
the sun is shining, the only way to have a complete experience of 
this is if the mind is clear. Otherwise, no matter how beautiful the 
weather is, our internal experience is cloudy. You sit in the park 
on a beautiful, clear day with a completely cloudy mind. You are 
sitting on your karmic cushion, the very familiar, all too 
comfortable, habitual cushion of your habitual thoughts.

***

It is quite useful to think of the Four Immeasurables as doorways 
inward to our deepest essence and also as doorways outward through 
which we express virtue and goodness in the world. Through them we 
enter the center of our being, the union of openness and awareness. 
They support us to recognize and rest in the nature of being. This 
is the wisdom aspect. It is wisdom that cuts suffering. I often 
describe wisdom as openness. Openness is the sword that cuts 
ignorance, the root of suffering. Through the openness of our being, 
through the inseparable state of openness and awareness, we 
spontaneously express the qualities of enlightened energy in the 
world.

Are you happier when you rest in the inseparable state of space and 
awareness? Absolutely! You will be happier if you abide in this 
way. You connect with presence, potential, flow. You experience 
fewer blocks. Most of us would agree that joy is connected with the 
experience of freedom. The ultimate sense of freedom is a mind 
unbound by conditions. Most of us do not experience our mind unbound 
by conditions, or we do not recognize this open state. We usually 
only recognize freedom when a block we have experienced releases. 
The experience of feeling free is wonderful, because the flow that 
was previously blocked is now cleared.

Every time someone blocks your flow you suffer. The beauty of life is in the flow. I am using the word flow to refer to the inseparable 
state of emptiness and clarity. A traditional word used to describe 
the experience of the inseparable state is bliss. When openness and 
awareness are there, we experience bliss; from this bliss, all 
positive qualities spontaneously manifest. This is referred to as 
spontaneous perfection: perfection that is already there.

Tibetan Sound Healing, by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and edited by 
Marcy Vaughn, is available online at Ligmincha’s Tibet Shop.