In Tibetan there’s an interesting word: ye tang che. The ye part means “totally, completely,” and the rest of it means “exhausted.” Altogether, ye tang che means totally tired out. We might say “totally fed up.” It describes an experience of complete hopelessness, of completely giving up hope. This is an important point. This is the beginning of the beginning. Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.
We could say that the word mindfulness is pointing to being one with our experience, not dissociating, being right there when our hand touches the doorknob or the telephone rings or feelings of all kinds arise. The word mindfulness describes being
right where we are. Ye tang che, however, is not so easily digested. It expresses the renunciation that’s essential for the spiritual path.
To think that we can finally get it all together is unrealistic.
—Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, page 37–38
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