☸ The Challenge of Habitual Patterns
Although intrinsic basic goodness is within all of us, we still come face to face with tremendous challenges known as habitual patterns. Our enthusiasm and awareness may be challenged by emotional afflictions such as ignorance, desire, hatred, jealousy, or anger.
More often than not, we succumb to these distractions. Most of us are so preoccupied with our habit
ual patterns that we've lost the simplicity of absolute truth, which is no longer reflected in the actions of our body, speech, and mind. Failing to maintain our awareness of fundamental truth we come to depend on the falsity of appearances, or false views. We then base all our judgments on what is apparent rather than true.
If anger arises, for example, rather than looking into the depth of another person's heart, we judge the sounds and actions we perceive - which gives rise to endless elaborations. We are then unable to realize our genuine nature. We could say that, ultimately, enlightenment is the exhaustion of all such concepts.
Habitual patterns provide us with a ground of familiarity. It's the familiar way we've lived this life and innumerable other lives; the familiar way we solidify every feeling, perception, thought, and action. It's the familiar way we make things real - elaborating, judging, and expanding - and then cater to that reality and try to survive in it.
We may not like our anger, for example, but if anger is our habitual ground it's more familiar than tolerance. And in spite of our aspirations, we're unable to let go of anger and turn to tolerance. We are constantly faced with the challenge of breaking through what have become very set patterns of thinking, speaking, and living.
- This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment by Khandro Rinpoche