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The Awakened PodcastNever Good Enough
Student: The thing that I work on the most is just a feeling of not being good enough. So when it shows up – it’s a residue – softer than it was. This always comes up for me. That happened this week.

Zen master e: Was there a particular thing that triggered it?

Student: It happened quite a bit I guess. It just comes up in my work. It comes up at home as well. I catch myself doing (garbled) to soothe myself I guess.

Zen master e: Yeah. so, and this is the big thing too right because within…

So it’s a tricky conundrum. Right. It’s a tricky conundrum because part of our practice right in particular, is that,
like, you’re already it. You’re already Buddha. That’s why we say we’re not – we’re not meditating.


There’s no practice that’s gonna bring about Buddha you.

It’s there.

It’s there.

Some people have a really, really tough time with just you know that final meditation that we do just resting in the radiance.

Resting in that open spacious presence.

The practice of presence.

Even if you want to call it loving awareness practice right.

Just resting there in that moment.

Nothing special going on.

Bit by bit, you become disentangled – disentangled.

And then what’s revealed is this open spaciousness beyond words – there’s no beginning or end no deathless no beginningness.

A good word that I use a lot is – ISNESS.


Words, (blahblahblah) once we’re doing these word things we’ve already like…

Because there’s no word, no phrase, no anything that I can ever say to you that’s going to make complete sense, until you’ve tasted it yourself. No.

So, depending on the tradition and the lineage, that’s all you do – you just sit and it’s not that you’re meditating.

Then you’re allowing the fundamental intrinsic Buddha you to shine through.

Because it’s not covered over by any shoulds, any woods, any coulds.

It’s not covered over by any doubts any beliefs, any concepts, any conditioning, anything like this.

But even though this is such a simple “practice” it’s probably the most difficult. Probably the most difficult.

Because there – there’s nothing to be done.

Everything is perfect.

Everything is…

There’s even an aspect of the teaching that tells you, even when your life is off the rails it’s perfect. It’s exactly as it should be.

And we talked about that too, right, that, you know what, probably what got us here together as a sangha in this very moment was some sort of pain, some sort of discomfort, some sort of something – uncomfortableness, unsatisfactory – some sort of stress and brought us here.

That we wanted to get rid of – to avoid – to be free of.

We’ve heard about happiness and we followed and chased after that carrot for a long long time and we’ve come to realize that I can never catch that carrot, so there’s got to be another way.

There’s that’s another way that we come to the practice right this existential crisis, there’s got to be another way a different way of doing these things right.

So we go off on that hero’s quest. Right. And this is like this is the fundamental process, the fundamental journey. Right.

You guys are reading hardcore right now going through it right Buddha’s journey. (Talking to the Dharma Teachers in training)

Buddha’s journey is our journey. Buddha’s journey is our journey.

And he, he did, crazy, crazy things – practices and austerities and starvation and, right, all this stuff, right?

Because he believed that there was like a cause and a result. Cause and a result. Cause result.

You are the causes and the result. Right now.

But that’s clouded over, covered up by conditioning, beliefs, whatever traumas you went through as a child, we all did – tons of them.

This whole week it’s just been like everybody I’ve talked to this whole week – This is an interesting week because of Diwali Samhain – it seems like everybody’s dredging through that deep dark wound. Usually more than one.

Because for the most part we’re operating in our lives from this deep dark wound.

Absentee father. Mother that didn’t touch. Whatever it is, whatever your story is there is something in there, right, that is shaping you, has shaped you, is whipping you and driving you in some way.

It’s there.

So in the practice, when we sit, sometimes a lot of times people wanna sit and just like, “Oh this is uncomfortable – things are coming up.”

They’ve been there the whole time trying to be free, trying to show you their wisdom and their insight, but you’ve been too busy, haven’t had the capacity, the space for it.

(Talking to a new student that just started to cry when she sat down in the group. Tears of release.)

Right – like tonight you came here, and you felt it – safe. Right?

(In that safe place)

“Oh look at, look at this. Look at this. How amazing.”

It was beautiful. It was beautiful.

So a lot of times when these things arise, right, like – we want to cover it up, we don’t want to show, because we got to be “tough” and “strong” or put on the front and there’s no time for this because the – whatever the important thing has to get done. It’s ridiculous.

What’s the most important thing?

For you to awaken.


Because once you do, once you’re just abiding and living in that place – as Buddha you – everything else takes care of itself.

But so this is the conundrum with – right – the practice and the path as well.

It’s a misnomer to say there’s a path.

What these things do – even in the Eightfold Path – these are things help undo your programming, your conditioning. The story that you’ve been told that, “Go get it all for yourself. Build up a life for yourself. Put up walls. Get everything you can get. Make something of yourself.”

What do you mean?

I’m vast open spaciousness, beauty without bounds, love that just seeks love for its own love and its own play and creative display.

But the world – society – doesn’t operate from that place. Doesn’t operate from this place.

I was talking to a business owner the other day and they were like, “Oh, they just gotta – I had to go through this.” like the Hard Knocks type of thing and blah blah and “They just gotta…” You know like insert whatever “Man it up!” Or something stupid phrase in here right.

And I stopped and I was like, “Did you enjoy that? Did you like that? Is this the type of environment that you want to foster and breed for your team? For your community? For your business? Or is there possibly another way that this can happen? That you can help people grow into the best of themselves without being so aggressive about it? That we can nurture them and guide them and help them unfold their own beauty and their own strengths that they don’t know that is there, because they’ve been told that they’re not good enough, they’re not fast enough, smart enough, making enough money, man enough, woman enough, Mom enough, insert whatever you want in here.”

Go get, and it’s never good enough.

You finished grade school, now there’s high school, you finish high school, what are you going to do? University or college or right.

And what’s next, and what’s next. what’s next, what’s next.

It’s maddening. It is maddening.

Next, and next, and it’s never good enough, there’s a right when you get to that top of the mountain there’s another mountain, and another mountain.

Holy shitballs. It’s just too much man.

In that world you’re never going to be good enough.


So stop playing in that world,

In the sense of playing by their games in your mind.

You are good enough.

You’re Buddha.

Student: That’s the truth!

Zen master e: That IS the truth.

You just gotta start to believe it.

The teacher sees that in you, just keeps BOOM! pointing right back at you.

You show up here with your bullshit yeah, whatever. But I’m just gonna magnetize this other reality that I see out of you.

I’m going to hold it for you.

I’m going to put up a mirror, and this mirror is a magic mirror that shows you your true self.

Beautiful beyond words.

Fully accomplished.

Fully realized.

Nothing left to be done because everything is already done and getting done without you having to worry about it, stress about it.

It just is unfolding beautifully right before your eyes.

You are just – just have the opportunity to bear witness to the magnificence of it all.

It’s just beyond words.

And more and more you give up this idea that there is a doer doing a deed.

It’s all just getting done beautifully.

Just get out of the way of it.

Because when you – you – the small you is out of the way it’s beautiful.

And, all things are going off the rails – Here – here – like you were saying earlier – just resting there – bearing witness to it – giving it the space to arise and flow through.

What needs to be done there?

In the other, there’s always – it’s always never going to enough.

There’s always gonna be more dishes. Always gonna be more dishes. Life is like that.

No, we have to see right we have to see then how that story whatever the story is – If it’s this story, “I’m not good enough. Where did that seed gets planted?”

And it’s probably deep way back there when you’re a little bambino. Little baby you.

We’re all operating from some sort of deep wound somewhere.

Some sort of lack. Some sort of pain. Something.

Just sitting here in this space that’s safe, giving yourself that space – It’ll be revealed to you and shown to you. This is what’s going. And then you’ll see it an operation, all around you, “I keep making these choices, going into these environments, meeting these type of people, all for you to be free.”

But our karma, our karma is pulling us and unfolding.

That’s why the teacher gets so mad and so worried and so upset when you don’t come.

Because this works out your karma for you.

Works it out.

Softens it. Smooths it and then releases it.

So when you’re not showing up on the Wednesdays, when you’re not coming for retreats, whatever it is, you know, the teachers crying, praying for you, holding you, doing the practice for you. Asking Buddha, the Bodhisattvas, Masters, the Dakinis, whoever, everybody, everybody I can and I can think of, “Please watch over them. Grant them your blessings, every day.”

Because they know that you don’t know.

So they’ll hold that for you.

If it’s not this life, then it’s okay – next life. We’ll do it again. We’ll do it again. I’ll do it again.

And the teacher. Yeah, no problem. This is the only game in town, guys.

If it ain’t this round it’s going to be the next one. The next one. The next one.

I don’t care, however long this takes.

Whatever this is.

Free yourself of that story too right.

We’re just hanging out drinking tea, having a good time and seeing what we can do, the good that we can do within the world.

And yeah, you’re gonna fall down on your face, you’re gonna suck at stuff, you’re gonna fail, you’re never gonna be good enough.



Sally stopped by my work and I was talking to her and I got a little teary eyed about all the grace
and kindness that my teachers and just people in my life have shown me. This fool over here, that you’re calling a teacher. And that there’s no way ever that I’m ever going to repay that. I’m going to do my goddamn best. I’m gonna blow the lid off of this life. And I might suck at it tomorrow, though. Guaranteed.

Yeah. So I just embrace the suckage. I embrace the darkness. You can’t hold that against me. Yeah I know I’m an idiot. You can’t hold that against me I’ve already – I own that.

That’s the thing, when we put it down here (stuff it down within ourselves). It owns us, and then people, the people that can pick up on it, will then use that against you, to control you, to own you, to hold you.

You’re free.

Even in your painting Samantabhadra/Samantabhadri.

Samantabhadra isn’t holding Samantabhadri. He’s giving her the space..

Watch this. Your mind is going to be blown.

For the people on the podcast I’m holding up a beautiful painting by Mary of Samantabhadra/Samantabhadri.

Samantabhadra Samantabhadri

This is the fundamental nature of existence right here.

Vast emptiness and the creative display.

Emptiness and luminosity and compassion.

It’s beautiful.

He’s not holding her. He’s giving her the space.

Give yourself the space to suck. To be you. To be fully you.

This is the beauty about our tradition and our lineage, is that you get to be fully you and alive and open and free and natural.

What does that look like? What does that sound like? How does that show up in the world?


It’s beautiful.

That’s why Samantabhadra – he can’t – without words.

Look how beautiful this is. I can’t, I can’t even believe that I have the opportunity to bear witness to this beauty. This magnificence. This creative display. I get to bear witness to this. To give this the space it needs. And this is me.

In the, the All Creating Sovereign that’s how it sort of opens up.

Samantabhadra – Looks just like there’s like a retinue of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and awesomeness just everywhere and he’s like, what the???

And just looks around like, “This is wicked awesome! Hold up a sec… This is me!”

(insert awe and reverence)

And that’s all you can do at that point, just be in awe and reverence and just sheer presence at the, “Whoa! This is amazing!!! And I get to be… This is me! Unfolding. This is my creative display!”

It’s awesome yeah?!?!?!

And this is just – I asked Mary to paint this again.

Mary’s got a different kind of teaching.

It’s beautiful huh?!?!.

This is the thing right, we’re not telling Samantabhadri how to be.

Just play.

It’s all just play.

Why you taking it so serious?

This is the thing, this is the great blessing of our tradition, “Why are you taking it so goddamn serious?”

Yeah. Somebody today was going on, “This is bullshit!”

Talking about something they’re frustrated at right.

And I was like, “You’re bullshit.”

And they just started to laugh their face off.

Yeah, I can’t help it – I don’t take it serious – like whoa, like why you taking this so serious man?

Like it’s just crazy.

Just relax.

Your bullshit, right.

Just take it easy.

Why are you taking it so serious?

This is your new koan.

Stop taking it so seriously right.

And when people are taking it so serious around you, then you just be Samantabhadra, just give them the space to unfold. To get there. You just give them the space. We give them the space.

Student: Say the “You’re bullshit first?”

Zen master e: Well, you need the way – before you give out the “Your bullshit!” koan okay?

But then you’ll know right when the perfect time is to do that. Boom. Boom.

You’re reifying it. You’re crystallizing it too much.

Just beautiful light and sound and energy and open vast spaciousness.

Anytime – This is wisdom right that awkward feeling like I feel to come up on I see it I got the wisdom. Right.

Oh there it is “Not good enough.”

Oh, thank you. Hi. Oh there you are. Oh, I’ve been wondering why I keep doing this, saying this going there, acting this way. Oh, thank you. Right I see you. I now know. I’m sorry.

And this is good – it’s beautiful to see it, to know it, and to notice – then the practice is to notice, because then you’re going to see it everywhere. Right? Hopefully.

In everything that you’re doing and everything that’s going on. This deep wound.

Whatever it may be, we’re all – don’t think – we all didn’t get through this unscathed. You just show up here anything.

You’re showing up here.

We all got some karma is just unfolding continuously. Right.

So when you find the Dharma, this is the thing, when you found – when you find the Dharma,
you now have like the tools, the community, the teachings, right, the teacher if you have a live (teacher), the teacher to help that blow away like a puff of smoke.

It’s beautiful.

And that’s why they become the points of reverence, and thankfulness. Right. Because people are just going about their lives whipped about by pain and their deep wounds. And we realize, “Whoa! There’s another way. There’s another way. I know it!”

And then our good karma helps us find a teacher, the teachings, the Sangha.

And then we just love the shit out of those people, man.


Because then just by there – being there (points to the students heart), you’re naturally better.

Better than you ever imagined.

And that starts to unfold in your life.

Easier, more fully. Right.

I CAN handle this.

I can do this.

Because I’m Buddha.

Your life, then rises up to meet you. “Oh yeah!” We talked about it last week. “Oh yeah? You want to be a little bit more patient and compassionate, yeah? So we’re going to throw in your path, opportunities, which you will call jerks and unfortunate situations. We’re going to call them – So you can practice. Practice being you, a Buddha.”

It’s good it’s good that that your steady practice has given you the, the openness and the spaciousness, to allow that to arise, and you to see it and then you to bring it here as an offering for us, because we all got it.

And this is the other thing about when we come together in a group. Because we feel alone and isolated out in the world. And even though we have all this modern technology of social networks we’re the most unsocial we’ve ever been. The most disconnected we’ve ever been.

We have to nurture these deep connections and those deep connections start with yourself.

And the teacher says you’re the Buddha.

Sit – with that truth,

Open your heart to that truth,

Breathe through that truth.

Rest in that truth.

Then that truth will start to come through you and your words, your actions, your thoughts.

We have to see, this time together gives us, and I say it a lot, that courage, and that compassion to see, to see with openness.

And we see how the people that are closest to us are suffering because we’re not looking.

That we start to have the resolve to be a blessing.

More and more, and more, in our lives.

Sometimes that’s just sitting back like Samantabhadra watching the show.

Just giving it the space to unfold.

Because you don’t know what to say, how to act, what to do.

So, don’t do anything yet.

Just sit.

See what arises.

There’s a wisdom and a brilliance within it.


You good?

Student: Great!

Okay, thank you.

You guys want to meditate?