Saturday, June 15, 2024

Equanimity

Having equanimity doesn't mean that you don't have emotions or that you don't feel emotions.

Having equanimity means that when you experience unpleasant emotions and cravings, you let yourself feel them without trying to stop them and without judging them: without thinking they are bad, and not thinking you shouldn't feel them. You don't create secondary emotions such as: "I don't like this feeling." "I shouldn't feel like this." "It's bad to feel like this." "This feeling means I failed." etc. Judging and secondary emotions can be very subtle so you may have to make an effort to notice if they are present.

And having equanimity also means just observing emotions and not getting drawn in by emotions: not getting lost in thought or carried away by emotions (trying to solve the problem or planning a reaction or thinking about how it is unfair etc. etc.).

When you just observe without rejecting, judging, or getting drawn in, the emotions seem like they are not yours, your ego is disengaged, you suffer much less.

Having equanimity doesn't mean you don't react to situations; it means you respond with compassion and reason rather than selfish emotions.

In summary, having equanimity means you feel the emotion, you don't try to stop it, you don't judge it, you don't get caught up in it, you just observe it.

  • Judging and secondary emotions can be subtle so you might need to make an effort to notice if they are present.
  • If you feel tense you can try to relax.
  • If your mind wanders you can bring it back to feeling the emotion.
  • Remember, the situation is not causing you to suffer, your reaction to the situation is causing you to suffer.
It is easier to have equanimity if you are relaxed and your mind is calm.

Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Disengaging the Ego

Unpleasant emotions can be hard to let go of. If you examine unpleasant emotions, you may notice that there is usually some involvement of the ego. You might feel that if you could somehow disengage your ego then you could let go of the emotion and you would suffer a lot less.

There is a way to disengage the ego. It is easier to learn to do it while meditating, but the disengagement persists for a time after a meditation session, so it can be helpful in daily life. And with practice, disengaging the ego becomes easier to do.

This is one way to disengage the ego:

  1. Relax and meditate to quiet the mind.

  2. Then notice an unpleasant emotion, let yourself feel it.

  3. Try to see clearly how the ego is involved - so that you understand disengaging the ego, letting go, would eliminate the emotion. But at this point you probably feel stuck, you can't let go.

  4. Then try to relax. That probably that won't change much, you still feel stuck, until the next step:

  5. Add an extra ingredient.

    I don't know exactly what to call this extra ingredient, probably the best way to describe it that will get someone close enough to figure it out for themselves is to call it metta. But it is not exactly metta, it is metta/humility/forgiveness/tranquil-happiness/freedom/compassion. It is the feeling of letting go, the feeling of letting go of your ego, the feeling of having your ego disengaged.

    When you do this correctly, the ego disengages, you let go of the emotion.

    I think many people who meditate will recognize this feeling, but you might not think of it as ego disengagement. I know this feeling very well, it's what I mean when I say, "When I am fully relaxed, nothing bothers me". But I had to experience it in the right context to see that is ego disengagement. If you follow the link and master that practice, you will understand what this "extra ingredient" is. When you do that practice, first your body starts to feel numb or tingling, then that feeling becomes more intense, then you feel like you are floating, and that becomes more intense, then you experience a transition (your ego becomes disengaged) and nothing is bothering you. If you experience that transition while focusing your attention on an unpleasant emotion, you will see that your ego has been disengaged.

I don't know how easy or hard this will be for any particular person to figure this out, but once you see how to do it, you can practice it and get better at it. The disengagement persists so you have to wait until it fades before you can try to produce it again.

In Buddhism, the first stage of awakening is called stream-entry. The main ingredient in stream-entry is the loss of identity view. Identity view is the belief that the self is a thing. When you are able to disengage the ego, you implicitly recognize that the ego is something that can be turned on and off or engaged and disengaged. The ego is not a thing, it is not a permanent entity, it is some type of process - it is one of the various unconscious processes that produce mental activity ie. thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory experiences, and also the sense of self (the ego). When you can disengage the ego, it is loss of identity view.

Loss of identity view doesn't mean you don't have emotions, it means you don't identify with them. When the ego is disengaged, you can let go of emotions more easily, and you can stay mindful more easily. When you are mindful of emotions, you don't react to emotions by pushing them away or judging them or suppressing them and you also don't get lost in thought or carried away by emotions in response to them.

The other factors in stream entry are loss of doubt about the teachings and loss of attachment to rites and rituals. Loss of attachment to rites and rituals is interperted to mean that you stop looking at meditation as some type of magic process because you see how it really works. So, learning to disengage the ego also involves loss of these other two factors, you understand how meditation helps you end suffering, and you have no doubt that it really works. Therefore, learning to disengage the ego is one way to attain stream-entry.

The process of learning to disengage the ego more easily over time so that you can keep the ego disengaged for longer and longer periods of time in daily life is part of attaining higher stages of awakening. In order to keep the ego disengaged in daily life, it is necessary to be mindful in daily life so that you can stay relaxed and notice when the ego becomes engaged and then disengage it.

Another part of attaining higher stages of awakening is letting go of attachments and aversions. Disengaging the ego allows you to let go but it doesn't automatically rid you of attachments and aversions. It doesn't eliminate your habitual reactions that have been reinforced over a lifetime. You still have to observe the activity of your mind to recognize attachments and aversions, and you have to decide to let go. Letting go means learning to relax and accept your emotions rather than reacting to them with in unmindful ways - you don't push emotions away or get carried away by them. Letting go may feel like letting down your barriers and expanding your borders. It may feel like your self is dissolving.

It can be hard to figure out how to accept emotions. It becomes easier if you understand that an unpleasant emotion is resistance to a fact of reality that we don't like. It's a lot easier to accept a fact we don't like than an emotion because if we understand a fact is the truth, then there is really no alternative but to believe it, ie. to accept it as truth. If we understand an unpleasant emotion is simply our resistance to an unpleasant fact, then if we can accept the fact as a truth, then when we accept the fact, there is no more resistance to it. It can be helpful, when you experience an unpleasant emotion, to identify the fact of reality that you are resisting, and remind yourself that what is really the problem is your resistance to the fact that, "reality is not the way I want it to be".

In Buddhism, those at the highest stage of awakening are said to experience nirvana with remainder. Nirvana is the absence of suffering. That there is remainder means it is not complete absence of suffering. This is because a complete elimination of suffering is not possible due to the limitations imposed by being a biological organism.

Related Reading

Despite the common perception that awakening is a sudden and mystical experience, for many people, maybe the majority of people, awakening is not sudden and not mystical.

Man on Cloud Mountain - Shodo Harada Roshi-Segment

Often enlightenment or kensho or satori is considered to be some kind of unusual experience or something external or some kind of special phenomenon. But it’s not like that. There may be some kind of sudden revelation or some kind of sudden perception, but its not something that is that unusual or that strange or foreign that we come upon or that comes upon us. What it is, is the ability to see without any interruption of the ego, without any filtering of the ego. And since we are all walking around seeing things through our ego filter almost all the time, to suddenly be able to see without that filter is a surprise. But it is nothing that we have ever not had.

On Enlightenment – An Interview with Shinzen Young

When it happens suddenly and dramatically you’re in seventh heaven. It’s like after the first experience of love, you’ll never be the same. However, for most people who’ve studied with me it doesn’t happen that way. What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice. What typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion, and unconsciousness—the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring and they may not realize how far they’ve come. That’s why I like telling the story about the samurai...

Enlightenments By Jack Kornfield

There is also what is called the “gateless gate.” One teacher describes it this way: “I would go for months of retreat training, and nothing spectacular would happen, no great experiences. Yet somehow everything changed. What most transformed me were the endless hours of mindfulness and compassion, giving a caring attention to what I was doing. I discovered how I automatically tighten and grasp, and with that realization I started to let go, to open to an appreciation of whatever was present. I found an ease. I gave up striving. I became less serious, less concerned with myself. My kindness deepened. I experienced a profound freedom, simply the fruit of being present over and over.” This was her gateless gate.


Uposatha Sutta - The Dharmafarers, themindingcenter.org

Even so, bhikshus, just as the great ocean slopes gradually, slides gradually, inclines gradually, not abruptly like a precipice — so, too, in this Dharma-Vinaya, penetration into final knowledge occurs by gradual training, not abruptly.1

Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Give Yourself Permission to Have Emotions

When something happens and you feel an unpleasant emotion or craving, you may react to that emotion with more unpleasant emotions. This creates a type of feedback loop. (For those who are interested in dependent origination, step 12 feeds back into step 6.)

For every time a situation triggers us, we trigger ourselves again and again, because we don't like having unpleasant emotions, (especially if we practice meditation because we want to become serene and we feel anything that is not serenity is a kind of failure). This is one reason it is so hard to let go. And it focuses our mind on the situation so we get more triggers from the situation. 

But you can interrupt the feedback loop when you give yourself permission to feel bad (allow yourself to accept/welcome your feelings without rejecting them or pushing them away) and while also maintaining mindfulness (not judging, not getting drawn in: your thinking mind doesn't start wandering, and you are not carried away by emotions).

The suffering caused by negative reactions to emotions is usually what is causing the vast majority of our suffering. The resistance is really the problem not the actual emotion. When you accept your emotions with equanimity, you experience a great sense of relief. Unpleasant situations are much easier to endure when you stop making things worse by beating yourself up over how you react to them.

And it isn't just unpleasant emotions and cravings. There are often emotions that in themselves aren't unpleasant, but we might not like to have them for various reasons so we react to them in an unpleasant way. This often happens if we feel an emotion that doesn't reflect our values, for example if you think of yourself as a spiritual person but you feel excessive pride, or someone else's misfortune makes you happy, etc. These types of emotions can set up the same type of feedback loop, where one emotions results in other unpleasant emotions.

By giving yourself permission to feel all your emotions, by making it okay to let yourself feel what you feel, you can experience your emotions to their full depth, explore layers of emotions and associated reactions. You can get things out of your system (let go of them) by letting them express themselves.

Doing this, in a sense, is losing identity-view because we stop protecting the "self" from insult and injury. We stop reacting like the self-image is a physical thing when it is only an image projected by the unconscious processes that produce all of our thoughts, emotions, and impulses. When you give yourself permission to feel all your emotions, it is like removing the ego filter.

Developing the habit of observing the mind and learning to notice the sensations in your body that accompany emotions can help you learn to notice emotions more easily.

When you notice an emotion you don't like, it can help to say to yourself in a relaxed way:
"It's okay to feel _____".
Try not to push away or judge the emotion, also try to observe how it feels in your mind and body while staying mindful, ie. without getting lost in thought or carried away by emotions.

Saying "it's okay" is a way of saying, "I experience relief from struggling against a fact, by accepting a fact as a fact. Resisting the facts of reality just makes things worse than they have to be. It is much nicer to have equanimity than to be upset - being upset doesn't help."

Saying "it's okay" is not to be understood as giving yourself permission to do anything in response to a situation or emotion, and it is not to be understood as encouraging yourself to repeat anything in the future, it is to be understood only as a reminder to experience your emotions with equanimity and mindfulness. (Equanimity is not pushing away, not rejecting, not judging and mindfulness is not getting lost in thought, not getting carried away by emotions). When you react to situations with equanimity and mindfulness, you are just taking your ego out of the equation. This will allow you to formulate a response to a situation with compassion and reason rather than selfish emotions.

In addition to emotions, you can fill in the blank with physical sensations and situations as well as emotions. You can also include things that are pleasant but that you might react negatively to. Accept with equanimity anything that produces a negative reaction (disliking or craving). Accept the situation and your reactions with equanimity. Try to notice different aspects of the situation that might be upsetting you and accept all of them.

When you notice unpleasant emotions arising, if you look closely you can usually see that the ego is involved. There is almost always something that offends the ego or threatens the self-image that is responsible for the unpleasant emotions. By accepting situations and emotions, giving yourself permission to have unpleasant emotions, you are disengaging the ego. You are teaching yourself to turn off the ego filter, to look at things free from identity-view.

When you accept everything with equanimity, you experience a great sense of relief. Unpleasant situations are much easier to endure when you stop making things ten times worse by beating yourself up over how you react to them.


Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Observing the Three Characteristics

On an internet discussion forum, someone asked if it was okay to notice just the impermanence aspect of the the three characteristics. This is roughly how I replied:

If you just study for example your car rusting, you might not get much out of it. If you look deeper you might get some insight into how your egoistic attachment to your impermanent car leads to suffering. The three characteristics are interrelated and studying one usually involves all three. By just focusing on impermanence and not looking deeper, I think you would be missing something important.

If you are observing the three characteristics because 1) you want to gain insight into the cause of suffering and the end of suffering as explained in the four noble truths and the eightfold path, and 2) if you want to gain insight into anatta because the main ingredient in stream-entry is loss of identity-view, I recommend first calming the mind with some type of samatha practice so you can focus your mind, and then, in meditation and daily life, observe the activity of the mind (thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory experiences, and senses of self and no-self).  If you do that you will see a lot of dukkha, impermanence, and anatta.

Knowing what to look for in particular can help so I will also suggest:

Notice dukkha arising and fading and notice how the ego or attachment to the self-image is involved in the arising of dukkha.

Notice how things pop into awareness by themselves, uninvited: thoughts distract you, you have unwanted emotions, and impulses are often unhelpful. Notice how the activity of the mind operates on cause and effect one bit of mental activity leading to another and another through associations, memories, and reasoning, until something sets it off on a new tangent - without any entity in control. Notice that different bits of mental activity sometimes work at cross purposes or undermine conscious goals, (for example people crave rich foods while hating to gain weight). 

Notice how the sense of self, the feeling of being an observer, an experiencer, a doer, a sufferer is no different than any other thought or feeling. And notice how the sense of self changes in different situations and as your emotions change.

(Most people already know a lot of this and therefore most people already have a lot of insight into anatta. They just don't connect the dots. To connect the dots you have to see it operating in your own mind over and over along with the connection to dukkha arising. Then you get disenchantment and attachments begin to fade. Some people have a sudden insight, but for many people it happens gradually.)

If you do this you will be studying dukkha, impermanence, anatta, and dependent origination.

More here:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/meditation.html


Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Dimensions of Awakening

If you only read about Buddhist awakening on the internet you might think it is all about realizing no-self. However awakening is multidimensional. It has several facets and each of them can develop gradually. The order and rate which these facets develop will vary from person to person and will vary depending on the type of meditation and mindfulness practice used.

Some of the dimensions of awakening are:

  • Loss of identity-view that results in less suffering. One becomes less attached to the self image and the ego doesn't trigger unpleasant emotions as often or as strongly.

  • Less Suffering. And intervals of nirvana increase in length.

  • Increased Equanimity.

  • Increased Compassion.

  • Less Selfishness. This is a behavioral change.

  • Reduced attachment to material objects. This is related to loss of identity view - you don't need status symbols to bolster your ego or self-image.

  • Reduced attachment to pleasant experiences and sensations. It doesn't mean you don't enjoy life, it means you are non-attached. There is a difference.

  • More feelings of good will, fewer feelings of ill-will

Recommended Articles:


Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Friday, April 26, 2024

How I Would Define of Buddhist Awakening

In this article I will discuss how I think Buddhist awakening should be defined.

Buddhism is explained at its most basic level by the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path which explain the cause of suffering and the end of suffering. So in Buddhism, awakening has to be about easing suffering. Most suffering is caused by attachment to the self-image and to diminish suffering those attachments have to be diminished. The fetter model of awakening in the Pali canon says that at stream-entry (the first stage of awakening) one loses identity-view. Exactly what losing identity-view means is subject to different interpretations. In my opinion, losing identity view should be understood to mean losing attachments to the self-image to the extent that there is a substantial reduction of suffering. I don't know if it is possible to lose those attachments 100% and I don't know that it is impossible either. But in my opinion:

Awakening should be measured by the loss of attachments to the self-image that result in lessened suffering.

Some people define awakening based on experiences that happen during meditation or by some type of non-dual or spiritual experience. There is no Pope in Buddhism and different people have different opinions. I can only say in my opinion:

Experiences only cause awakening if they also cause the loss of attachment to the self-image.

Just the experience by itself, without the loss of attachment to self-image, does not constitute awakening. The experiences by themselves are not necessary or in every case sufficient to cause awakening. 

Since I would measure awakening by loss of attachment to the self-image and not by any particular experience, there is not a good way to identify a moment to call stream-entry. Actually, I would define stream entry as when you understand from examining your own mind that the self-image is just an image and not a thing. But that can happen without causing loss of attachments to the self image. So for these two reasons I would not encourage people to seek or view stream-entry as the first stage of awakening.

(The reason I use the term self-image instead of self is because all of our thoughts arise into consciousness from unconscious processes, we never see how thoughts are constructed they just pop into awareness, and any thought of self that rises from unconscious process is not the self it is the self-image, it is an image projected by unconscious processes into consciousness. We are not able to conceive of the self we only know the self image.)

I also hold the opinion that:

Enlightenment, for most people, is a gradual process independent of exceptional experiences.

Not every one has exceptional experiences and some people who have an exceptional experience don't lose attachment to self-image from it. Awakening is said to be gradual in the Pali canon. Shinzen Young says most of his students awaken gradually and I think that is true for the general population.

I also believe everyone, even non-meditators, have some level of insight into anatta and therefore some level of awakening.

  • Most people understand when they get distracted by stray thoughts that they don't control their thoughts.

  • Most people understand they don't control their emotions and they sometimes have impulses that are not helpful.

  • Most people realize that their egotistical tendencies can cause problems (suffering) for themselves and they would be better off if they were less egocentric.

  • People know that when they walk or do other tasks, they don't pay attention to every movement, our bodies operate by themselves to a large extent.
Some people understand this better than others but I think everyone has some glimmer of some part of the fact that our mental and physical life is largely controlled by unconscious processes, which in Buddhist terminology are called the Five Aggregates of Clinging. And whatever amount of enlightenment a person has, they can gradually increase it by practicing meditation and mindfulness and work through the mula kleshas and develop insight into the cause of suffering in their own mind and begin to lose their attachments to the self image. 

Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Gradual Awakening Part III

This is my third article on gradual awakening. The first is here, the second here. In this article I am going to propose a theory to explain why some people have gradual awakenings.

Different people, for whatever reason, brain wiring, brain chemistry, etc, experience certain mental phenomena at different levels of intensity.

For example, some people have the empty house experience (see below) and think, "This is enlightenment, now I know what it is". And other people have the same experience but it is not very intense and they don't think it is really important, it is kind of fun, but they might never think it was awakening unless they read that web article.

And the same thing is true of cessation/fruition. Some people like Ron Crouch (see below) have an intense experience and recognize it as awakening. Other people have fruition and enjoy the afterglow but don't see anything about anatta in it. Other people don't even notice fruition, they just notice an afterglow sometimes after a particularly good meditation session. When it is not intense, people wonder why anyone would think that was awakening.

The people who don't experience these things intensely,  keep meditating and over time they as Shinzen says (below) work through the mula kleshas and lose their attachment to their self-image gradually. This process also can happen for people who had an intense awakening experience as they deepen their enlightenment. 

Here is the empty house experience:
https://theconversation.org/what-is-enlightenment-no-i-mean-really-like-what-is-it/

Imagine as clearly as you can that you enter a large house that you have never been in before. You feel strange and kind of scared, there is furniture and drapes but no people. You wander around feeling the creepiness of being alone in this big house. You go from room to room not knowing what you will find. You start to get nervous and a little fearful being alone in this big house. You wonder how long it has been empty like this. In time the sense of the bigness and emptiness of the house starts to weigh heavily o­n your nerves. Finally, when you can not stand it any longer a shocking realization occurs to you: you're not there either! o­nly the experience exists.
Here is Ron Crouch's experience of fruition:
https://web.archive.org/web/20150315043206/http://alohadharma.com/2011/06/29/cessation/
Practitioners who have experienced the moment of Nirvana struggle to put it into words, because describing it can make it seem anticlimactic even though it is truly extraordinary. What it feels like is that there is “click”, “blip”, or “pop” that occurs for an instant. When it first happens it is so quick that the meditator could even miss it. However most people do stop and ask themselves “what was that?” It can be a bit baffling because it seems like nothing happened, and that is exactly right. For an instant absolutely nothing happened. There were no shining lights or angels, no pearly gates or choruses of joy, no transcendent experiences of unity with the cosmos or the divine. It is nothing like that at all. It may not be until you really think about it that you realize what an extraordinary thing that instant of absolute nothing really is.

As you reflect on it you see that there was something truly amazing about that moment. In that instant everything disappeared, including you. It was a moment of complete non-occurrence, the absolute opposite of everything that has ever happened in your life up to this moment, because it could not really be said to have happened to you. No doubt, it is a weird realization, but there it is. Following the experience of this absolute nothing is what my teacher aptly calls a “bliss wave.” For some time following this moment of alighting upon Nirvana you feel really relaxed and fresh. These two experiences, seeing that you disappeared and that you also feel great because of it, lead to a very important discovery that will shape how you view yourself from this point forward. You begin to understand in a very deep way that there really is something to this whole idea that the cravings of a “self” are the root of suffering. When it was gone, even for an instant, life suddenly got much better.

Here is how Shinzen Young describes gradual awakening:
https://www.lionsroar.com/on-enlightenment-an-interview-with-shinzen-young/

The sudden epiphany that’s described in many books about enlightenment, that has definitely happened to some of my students. And when it happens, it’s similar to what is described in those books. I don’t keep statistics, but maybe it happens a couple times a year. When someone comes to me after that’s happened I can smell it. They walk into the room and before they’ve even finished their first sentence I know what they’re going to say. You remember, right…? Your own case.

When it happens suddenly and dramatically you’re in seventh heaven. It’s like after the first experience of love, you’ll never be the same. However, for most people who’ve studied with me it doesn’t happen that way. What does happen is that the person gradually works through the things that get in the way of enlightenment, but so gradually that they might not notice. What typically happens is that over a period of years, and indeed decades, within that person the craving, aversion, and unconsciousness—the mula kleshas (the fundamental “impurities”), get worked through. But because all this is happening gradually they’re acclimatizing as it’s occurring and they may not realize how far they’ve come. That’s why I like telling the story about the samurai.


Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Nirvana - How To

On another forum someone asked for opinions on the best way to experience nirvana. This (with a few modifications) is how I replied:

...

One thing I have found that is not commonly acknowledged in Buddhist practices is that physical relaxation - muscular relaxation - is necessary to fully let go of unpleasant emotions (suffering). The mind and body are interconnected. I understand "letting go" to mean relaxing mentally and physically. The relaxing meditation technique I use is described here:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/08/preparing-for-meditation-with.html
When I am fully relaxed nothing bothers me. This is also how I prepare for vipassana.

I do vipassana by watching the activity of my mind (thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory experiences, and sense of self) in meditation and daily life and notice when dukkha arises. I try to see how the ego is involved dukkha arising. I try to be relaxed and let go of dukkha (without suppressing anything). That simple practice covers observing the three characteristics and dependent origination.

To experience nirvana I would say the key is to learn to notice dukkha/suffering/clinging/unpleasant emotions as soon as they arise, and to recognize that you should not get carried away - not become immersed in them but remain a mindful observer and try to stay relaxed or get back to a relaxed state. When you observe the mind, you see thoughts, emotions, impulses, sensory, experiences and sense of self are coming into the mind from unconscious processes that you really have little influence over and are sometimes contradictory and not necessarily trying to make you happy. You learn that you are happier if you don't take them too seriously. This explains more about how I practice vipassana:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2023/05/observing-mind.html

The relaxing meditation teaches you how to be relaxed. The vipassana shows you why it it right to be relaxed instead of letting your mind make you suffer, and trains you to notice the instant dukkha begins to arise so you can let go before you get carried away by thoughts, emotions, impulses etc. (observing the physical sensations in your body that accompany emotions can help you learn to notice emotions as soon as they arise). Then when things go crazy and your mind/body is trying to make you suffer, you have the habit of rejecting that tendency and relaxing instead. It can be extremely hard to relax when you mind/body is trying to make you upset, you have to have conviction from direct observation that the upset perspective is not "truth", and you have to have very high level of skill in relaxation from repeated practice so that you can do it easily and automatically in adverse situations. When we are stressed we get focused on what is causing the stress (like if the brakes on you car fail) and we forget everything else (like the emergency brake will work if the brake pedal doesn't). So you have to train for emergencies and understand what to do when they happen (don't get carried away by the mind and be relaxed).


Copyright © 2024 by ncu9nc All rights reserved. Texts quoted from other sources are Copyright © by their owners.