Windhorse

how to harness the energy of life

With so much going on in the world and in our lives it’s easy to feel a lack of energy. We go through our days managing work, relationships, health, kids, school, and “life admin” and by the end of the day we collapse. It can feel like our very life force is drained out of us, we feel a lack of inspiration and engagement. Fear and stress about the state of the world can leave us depleted and wondering what it’s going to take to keep going. 

In a recent blog post, I talked about how there is a self-existing power and energy in the world that we can tap into. Another name for this energy is lungta in Tibetan, or windhorse. Lung means wind and ta means horse. The principle is that the primordial energy which exists in the world can actually be harnessed and ridden. This energy is everywhere all the time, as Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche puts it- “we don’t possess it, but nevertheless, it’s ours”. When we can tap into this energy we are able to accomplish what we want and move through obstacles and challenges in a more resourced and uplifted way. 

We often feel like life is an uphill battle and that we’re pushing through the challenges. Our car breaks down, we get sick, Covid hits… the obstacles and challenges never stop-they are part of life. But how we approach these challenges is what makes all the difference. It’s hard not to take these obstacles personally and feel that somehow life is against us. But when we tap into windhorse we are able to move through challenges in a way that is more present and engaged without getting dragged down-the challenges become simply another texture. It doesn’t mean we become neutral or indifferent to life’s challenges, we become more equanimous. 

Windhorse comes from letting go. Letting go of our personal agendas and feeling like everything has to work out for me. We let go of self-centeredness and ego and actually just show up for what’s going on. I recently had the opportunity to practice this when the clutch went out on my car. My son and I were driving down a super busy street and all the sudden my car would not go into gear and the clutch pedal kept sticking. As I pulled into a parking lot I could feel my mind going to that place of “oh no, why me?” and the building stress of, “how much is this going to cost?” and the inevitable rush of anxiety that leads to planning out the next four days in one minute. Because I have the teachings on Windhorse I was able to stop myself and just let go. Let go of how I want things to turn out and just be with what is. 

It’s not automatic, you have to be very intentional and aware that you’re going to let go of the incessant thinking and stress and relax into what’s happening.  It takes practice and I’m definitely not always successful at remembering to do it, but the more I do, the easier it becomes. In fact, the promise of practicing Windhorse, is that we can actually start to enjoy the challenge because it keeps us present. In Tibet, the view is that obstacles are actually blessings to remind us to come back to the present because we have lost our mind in the rush of the world. 

The more we practice Windhorse, the more we can project confidence in our activities and in who we are. Windhorse has a palpable quality. When someone has Windhorse, you can feel it when they enter the room. They project a quality of benevolence and upliftedness. Little upsets don’t drag them down and they are available for the constantly changing dynamics of life. They don’t have to explicitly know about the teachings on Windhorse-the Tibetan teachings don’t own this quality. It’s self-existing and just waiting for us to get on and ride into our lives. 

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