We should think very strongly, “I can keep my commitments. I can keep my promise. I will change.” Never say “I can’t change” or that it is too late or too hard to change. Never say it. Because, when you say it, you are thinking it. When you are thinking it, you open up a karma that you cannot change.
Never, never, never say you cannot change. You can change, you can transform, you can improve and you can become spiritually advanced. You can become stable. All of us have our own insecurities that we hide from or that we avoid but we can overcome it when we think “I can overcome it.” You create the karma to overcome it. It is not magic. It is karma.
You must dig into your repository of karma in a positive way, which is why we take vows. Vows give us courage and we take vows in front of Buddha, our parents, our teachers, the government, on the Bible or in front of God because these are people or beings who have power; they have achieved something. So when they achieved something and we take a vow in front of them, it has some karmic effect.
Think about it. If you keep saying “I cannot,” then you cannot. You have made your choice. If you say, “Maybe I can,” you give yourself a 50% chance that you can. If you say, “I can,” you will be able to do it. No one goes to initiations and says, “Maybe I will be a Buddha” No one goes for refuge with their Guru and says, “”Maybe I’ll take refuge in the Buddha 50% of the way.” When you take your medical vows as a doctor, or law vows as a lawyer, you do not say “I promise fifty percent.”
On the next level, when you say “I cannot” you reinforce that tendency in yourself. This is why it is very important now to develop a type of mind that is strong and focused, so that even in sickness and difficulty, you can pray for others and absorb the suffering of others. Even when you are in tremendous pain, you will be able to absorb the unhappiness of others.
If you accustom your mind to thinking, “I cannot. I give up,” then the karma you collect from disappointing other people, destroying your vows and destroying yourself is very strong. If you are accustomed to this kind of thinking, you will even have that thinking at the time of death.
The point is not to reinforce our negative thoughts, depressions, or habit of giving up. We should not think about giving up on reducing our anger, giving up our commitments, our generosity, our study and meditation or giving up from holding our vows and benefiting others. We should not give up on developing those qualities because by giving up, we will open up the karma for not being able to accomplish what we set out to do.
If we don’t give up, we trigger another type of karma to open. We have created a lot of good karma from holding our vows, taking initiations, doing our practice, making offerings, donating to temples, respecting our parents, talking nicely to our mothers and fathers, showing respect to elders, helping pregnant ladies, taking care of animals, taking care of beggars, going out on Saturday night to give food to the poor. But at the moment, that karma is dormant. We need to trigger it open by our positive thinking: “I can do it. I will do it. At any cost, I will do it.” Never say you can’t because that’s not the real you speaking.”
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