Your Real Circumstance

Your Real Circumstance
November 21, 2018

Skillfullness in life results from immersion, presence, and immediacy rather than from explaining and intellectual understanding. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

Last Wednesday I talked about our real nature, or your real nature, and what that means. I think that was a pretty good introduction to what direct realization traditions are about. Today I want to talk about something that’s equally as important which is your real circumstance. There’s always a phrase that means your real nature—your primordial nature is a variation of that—that’s used in all the direct realization traditions.

But your real circumstance is actually a phrase that’s mostly used by my Dzogchecn teacher. That’s where I picked it up. We talk about it in Trika Shaivism, but we don’t use that exact phrase. I think it’s a nice companion phrase to your real nature. When Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche talks about your real circumstance, he means noticing what’s actually happening, looking deeper into it, and discovering where circumstances are arising from.

When you’re being in duality and you’re not yet fully realized, there’s basically three kinds of aspects of your real circumstance. Or let’s just say when you’re not hardly realized, because that’s what I really want to talk about.

So the first circumstance is the least conscious circumstance. It’s the most limited circumstance. It’s the most karmically-conditioned circumstance. And that is you’re having an explanation for your responses to things that involves attributing your responses to things to external circumstance or to some problem that you have. You have just regular, ordinary-mind explanations for things: I’m pissed off because Bob left his copies in the copier. I’m sad because so-and-so doesn’t want to be my friend. I’m depressed because I wasn’t breast fed, and I didn’t get the vitamins and minerals I needed when I was younger, so now I’m chronically depressed. Or something like: I’m good at—or bad at—something because of my astrology. It can sound spiritual but it’s still this ordinary-mind, closed explanation. The real answer is the reason why you show up in certain ways is unexplainable.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.