Turn Off Your Search Mode – Trust in Being

Tenzin Rinpoche in Poland

As I travel and teach the different cycles of dzogchen teachings, whether it be the Six Lamps, Twenty-One Nails or Experiential Transmission of the Masters, I always tell people that while I will be speaking about different aspects of the teaching, in the end, everyone needs a very clear place to summarize it all and connect – and this is always to the inner refuge. Ever since I introduced the Inner Refuge Prayer [see below] and the body of knowledge around it, I am always saying that this is it. One is always trying to connect with oneself – one’s own inner refuge, because at the end of the day, each person needs their own personal connection to the teaching. You cannot be connected to the teaching and yet disconnected from yourself. The teaching is there to try to help you connect to yourself. But you see, even the pursuit of knowledge can be another way of disconnecting. It is very important not to have this happen and not to get distracted by all of the searching and assessing that we so often do.

Today I would like to talk to you about the idea of turning off your navigation system – your search mode. Even while you are listening to me at this very moment, you might be curious about what I have to say or by what I am not saying. However, whatever I have to say, you will hear it much better if you turn off your search mode. Simply stop looking for things. If you are trying to do something right now while you are listening to me, stop doing those things. Just sit and turn off your search mode and simply be.

We talk about being in the first refuge; we talk about being in the second refuge; we talk about being in the third refuge; we’re talking about being all the time. The only thing that prevents being is when you are looking. You look more when you are excited about something. In this very moment, there’s nothing too exciting, so just stop looking for anything. Just by the fact that you’ve turned off that search mode and stopped looking, you will already be experiencing new experiences: you feel more connection to your body; you feel more connection to this moment; you feel more connection to your breath; you feel more connection to your mind; you feel more connection to anything that is happening in this very moment. You’re not worried about what might happen in the next moment, or looking forward to something that might happen in the next moment. You’re simply being.

Yesterday, two of my old friends and students visited me. As they are getting older, they are having some health challenges, and they shared something interesting. They’re finding that when you’re in your 80s and 90s, a lot of things happen in your body, and in your health. But it’s much more fun just to watch what’s happening than it is to try to make anything happen. Wow, that’s nice! Just to observe what’s happening to your body, rather than trying to interfere with what’s happening or trying to make something else happen. Of course, that doesn’t mean that if your health is not good, you shouldn’t do anything about it – I don’t mean that. What I do mean is that the idea of always trying to do something different than what is – this is the cause of disease to begin with. It is the cause for taking away the peace from life. It is the cause for taking away our creativity and our ability to connect to ourselves or to each other. That is exactly the reason why I am saying here to turn off your navigation system. Switch off your search mode. It drains you.

Let’s develop a sense of trusting the inner refuge – trusting more in this moment, trusting in the source. From there, anything that is meant to happen will happen in a much better way than you would ever know. You won’t be disappointed with what happens spontaneously through that inner intelligence, that inner peace, that inner openness, rather than what would arise from that block, that pain, that fear, that anxiety, that worry, because what arises from those places is clearly not as good.

You might believe, “Oh I can’t just let go of this particular issue just like that, because I am in a difficult moment in my life. I really have to find some answers. I have to answer to somebody. I have to come up with some solutions. So I cannot relax. I have to work hard. I have to think a lot. I have to talk a lot.” But if you continue in that way, I guarantee you there won’t be much clarity or solution there. You will continue the chain of pain and confusion. But if you are able to see how disorganized your ego is, how inefficient your ego is, how unclear your ego is, or how unclear your pain is, then you allow an opportunity – another way of being – to arise that is also like giving a little space even to your ego, giving a little space even to your pain.

As it is right now, you are not giving a little space to your pain. You are not giving a little space to your ego, nor to your fear. You’re not giving a little space to this energy or to what’s happening in your body. Your anxieties, restlessness – they all need some space, and if you give them a little space, they might function better. If you give them a lot of space, they will have no power to make any decisions; rather, the decisions will be coming from inner intelligence. That is so much better.

My single message here today, then, is to turn off your search mode, your navigation system. You see, if you look back at yourself over the last few hours, or the last few days, or few weeks, you will see that unconsciously your navigation system has been on so much of the time. Just like when your smartphone’s navigation system is switched on, how can you tell? The phone becomes hot to the touch, and the battery is draining fast. It’s not able to function optimally. It’s not getting the stillness, the silence, the spaciousness. That’s how we know. If you’re feeling the same way as what happens with the smartphone, then you just need to know to simply turn off the search mode and give yourself a little break. It saves your battery, saves your life and your health; it saves you from doing some possibly stupid things. You may say, “Maybe I already did some stupid things.” Well, then, this will save you from doing the next one.

Just focus inwardly and see. The moment you turn off your search mode, you already feel that space – a beautiful space, unconditioned space, a potential space, a home where you feel safe. Feel that inner awareness, inner light, and you already feel more alive. You already feel more rest. You already feel more joy. You already feel more ideas. You can already see more solutions. You’re getting all the things that you want by not putting the effort into it that you’ve been putting in the past – or by not driving other people crazy like you’ve been doing up until now. And it’s all by simply being, being in in that inner refuge, being connected to those sources. That’s why sometimes in the dzogchen teachings, it says: the result is already there. The fruition is already there in the base. But when you’re in the search mode of trying to find the fruition, the fruition goes further away, or it runs away from you. By simply being, you discover the fruition, whereas by searching, fruition runs away. So, turn off your search mode – try it!

Even if it’s only occasionally at first, you can become aware of your search mode in little ways. For instance, your intention may be to sit in the nature of mind for five minutes, and you may find that you’re actually not just sitting in the nature of mind for that five minutes; rather, you are trying to do something in the nature of mind. [Laughter.]

So, be that base, that awareness, that warmth. Allow it to positively impact everyone and everything around you, rather than trying to search for something and impacting everyone negatively with those pains and ego and the effort of trying to find something which is already in you. Impact everyone and everything around you positively with effortlessness, rather than impacting them negatively with effortfulness. Is that clear?


Inner Refuge Prayer

The center of the victorious mandala, one’s own body,
The source of all positive qualities without exception,
Is the expanse within the three channels and the five chakras.
I take refuge in this body of emptiness.

All the gathered clouds of suffering and misery
Are completely cleared by the wisdom wind,
Revealing the unelaborated, primordially pure expanse of the sky.
I take refuge in this body of light.

From the pavilion of the five wisdom lights,
Rays from nondual spheres of light emanate,
Clearing the webs of the darkness of ignorance.
I take refuge in this body of great bliss.

To read more from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, please look for his new publication, Spontaneous Creativity: Meditations for Manifesting Your Positive Qualities(Hay House, 2018).