Robert Sachs

Let's Talk

The "Getting Real" Factor

September 21, 2012

Tags: Becoming Buddha, Fear Factor, Feel Good Factor, Buddhist Masters

In the panic and promise of the year 2012, I note a polarity which - I contend - is dis-empowering any which way you cut it.

On the one side, there is the "Fear Factor" crowd. Global devastation and collapse either at the hand of nature, corporations and their army/nations, or a combination thereof. Not all agree on the doomsday at Christmas scenario. But, there is panic and fear that sometimes translates into a fear for the collective future, but more often than not has to do with personal safety and security.

Then there are "Feel Good" Factor people. Aquarius is finally here! Personal transformation and growth, if only we get on board, visualize the same thing, chant the same words and lo and behold - a transformed planet moving forward in peace and harmony.

Hope and Fear. A great Tibetan master, Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche warned about getting seduced by either. Both have their addictive qualities. In both cases, the shadow, the other side of the coin is denied, decried, or explained away. And to be materialistic about it, both get great press and make a lot of money for their proponents. Some can't get enough of end-of days and disaster movies and music. Others close their eyes, put their hands over their ears to muffle all that negativity while visualizing their preferred reality. And as the solstice of 2012 draws near, the din gets louder and louder.

When I did my book, The Wisdom of the Buddhist Masters, whilst the western teachers were more optimistic, the Tibetan teachers - I would say - were more real about what were are in the midst of. But, none of them were saying that at the end of 2012 that we would be gone or forever changed. Buddhist teachings just don't encourage that kind of thinking.

"Getting Real" has to do with personal resiliency. It's very unsexy. It doesn't get a lot of press or bring in a lot of money. It is about cultivating mindfulness, understanding the illusory nature of it all, striving to not buy into whatever illusion is being marketed as real, and a commitment to come clean, get real, and care - no matter what comes at us in our individual and collective future.

Mindfulness, eco-sensitivity and sensibility, taking good care of the biological suit we each wear and helping others in similar way...This was my message in Becoming Buddha.

If I see a tipping point, it is about stepping back from the gloom and doom and not getting drunk on the New Age dreamscape. There, in the everyday world that most of us live there are keys and pointers towards what is sane and sensible. There is much to do. But, if we hold in mind those around us, we shall find that much of what needs to be done is best done by coming together with others and listening to the natural world around us.

Hope and fear are over-rated. Don't get drunk or seduced by either. Stay awake. Pay attention. And, in that light, care and love will become more and more evident and obvious. That is what is real.


  1. September 21, 2012 7:28 PM EDT
    I don't believe that there will be a "sudden" event @12/21/2012, but I do believe that in the future, when we look back, that we will be able to discern that this current period is/was charged with unique and transformative energies, and that the Dec. 12th date is as good as any other to state that yes, it was pivotal.
    - Russell Hodin
  2. September 22, 2012 4:47 PM EDT
    Loved this article. Extremes are not very good for the body , soul, emotions or mind. Taoists are very good are maintaing the middle way.
    - Eartha Reilly

Selected Works

Medicine Buddha, Sangye Menla, Tibetan Medicine, Ayurveda
Helping to heal the Three Poisons that are the root of all our illnesses and suffering...
Autobiography, Philosophy, Self Help
A moving story that inspired Robert to put in print many insights and practices to help each of us to die more consciously and at peace.
Self-help, spirituality, Buddhism, death, dying, and bereavement
Shows how we can embrace dying and death with greater clarity, wisdom, power, and joy.
Astrology, Personal Growth
A system of astrology used over the centiries in Tibet, Japan, and China - easy to calculate, but profound in its possible applications for all facets of life.
Relationships/Self Help
A must for anyone seeking to practice the profound path of intimate relationships.
--Tsultrim Allione, author
Self-help, spirituality, Buddhism, relationships, marriage
Addressing the challenges to and rewards of developing deep love and cultivating lasting relationships
Current Affairs
Practical and transcendental wisdom that every concerned citizen and social and political activist needs to hear.