We should always be realistic at the beginning of the path, and understand that it's not going to be a case of experiencing instantaneous results, or that our practice sessions continuously improve day after day. There are going to be ups and downs - our practice might go well today, but tomorrow it might not.
When we come to terms with this fact, and continue to practise each and every day, no matter what happened in the previous session, and without holding on to any hopes, expectations, or fears of what may happen in the next session, over time definite signs of lasting progress will arise - and this is a guaranteed by-product of consistency.
Not only do we begin to notice more ups than downs during our formal practice sessions, but we also begin to experience other signs of progress creeping into our daily lives - positive emotions begin to almost effortlessly arise instead of disturbing ones.
The more we experience all of these signs, the more we are inspired to continue on the path - and the life of the practitioner will become truly joyous.
It is often seen that human beings can endure problems quite well, but cannot endure success. When we are successful and have everything we desire, it can easily go to our heads. There is a great danger of losing our common sense and becoming careless and arrogant.
As it is said, “Nothing corrupts a person more than power.” Very powerful people sometimes become so proud that they no longer care about their actions or about the effect they have on others. Losing any sense of right and wrong, they create severe problems for themselves and everyone else.
Even if we have all the success we could dream of - fame, wealth, and so on - we must understand that these things have no real substance. Attachment does not come from having things, but from the way our mind reacts to them. It is fine to participate in good circumstances, provided we can see that they have no real essence. They may come and they may go. When seeing this, we will not become so attached. Even if we lose our wealth we will not be badly affected, and while it is there we will enjoy it without being senseless and arrogant.
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche
In order to catch a thief we have to know who the person is and what he or she looks like. The greatest thief of all is our mistaken sense of self - the conception that not only ourselves but all other phenomena as well are truly existent.
We believe that things really exist the way they appear to our senses, as objectively established, as existing from their own side. This, then, is what we have to know in order to catch this great thief, who steals all our happiness and peace of mind.
Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey
Generally, all phenomena are included in both samsara and nirvana. The nature of that which is called samsara is emptiness. It’s expression is confusion. It’s defining characteristic is to arise as suffering.
The nature of that which is called nirvana is emptiness. It’s expression is the exhaustion and the disappearance of all confusion. It’s defining characteristic is the liberation from all suffering.