Words of Wisdom by the 17th Karmapa
- "I think that one problem we have is that we think of ourselves,
our lives and our identities in very materialistic terms. We
especially nowadays identify so much with the material circumstances
or facts of our existence, and we construct our identities and
our attitude towards our entire lives based on this.
For example, we identify with our professions. If someone is
a physician, then she thinks of herself as a physician as though
that defines who and what she is fundamentally. When we fixate on
these externals, we put ourselves at risk.
For example, if you construct your identity based upon your work
and you lose your job, then you lose your identity. Our identities
are really our human nature, that innate capacity for love and compassion, that genuine human quality, which is who and what we
really are. If we understand this, we will be independent of identification with externals, which will allow us to be content and
to continue with internal development, in spite of any imperfections
or lack in our external resources or circumstances. This is also conducive to healthy self-esteem."