just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

Giving Momentum to Our Dissatisfaction

Published on 30/10/15
by randy


It was great relief for me to learn that it’s of human nature to live in the realm of dissatisfaction. The restless mind is just how it is. That was Buddha’s First Noble Truth. He then went on to say that we suffered to the degree we attached to and grew our thoughts of desire for things to be different. The momentum we give these cravings increases our suffering. He then went on to say the antidote to this suffering is to let the thought filled craving mind return back to the moment, empty. When we let go the suffering leaves and when we attach to the craving thought we give it strength and grow our suffering. Meditation as I’ve been taught is the practice of getting better and better at witnessing this restlessness. We can’t stop thoughts and feelings from coming up but we can get better and better at noticing them and letting them go before they build momentum and consequent suffering. Simply put, we can suffer when we attach to thoughts of wanting things to be as the way they were or we can suffer with anxiety about what we want things to be. Our peace is found in finding the blessing in just being here in this moment. It’s why our breath is such a wonderful object of meditation. We can sit and attach to the thought, “I wonder how much longer this is? I need to do that chore and I hope traffic isn’t bad this morning. My knee hurts and I can hardly wait to straighten it out….and on and on the restless mind goes.” Or we can let go and return to the awareness of breath. Some days it seems impossible to quiet it down and it’s been referred to as ‘monkey mind’. Other days we can notice the thought more quickly before it captures us and leads us further from the moment. It’s called a ‘practice’ because the work never stops. The more we sit in stillness the more sensitive and aware we become to our restless mind, the more aware we become to our thoughts and emotions, and the better we get at letting them go before they build momentum. This increased awareness helps us make less of a mess of things. We can notice our reactive mind, return to breath awareness, take pause, and hopefully take a better action. It’s why the Buddha instructs on developing skillful means in speech, action and how we earn a living.

No one ever said this work is easy. No one escapes the suffering mind. The next negative thought or emotion is just around the corner. The poisons of greed (wanting more), fear (anxiety about what’s coming), and ignorance (ignoring our inter connection with everything) work us all. Our ‘practice’ is to get better at noticing these thoughts and emotions and letting them go. Gratitude for the moment is healing (returning us to wholeness). Forgiveness is necessary. Compassion (meeting one another’s suffering as our own) deepens our practice. When we quiet our mind we create opportunity to reside in the heart space. It’s what we’ve come to know as “the peace that passes understanding”. You experience that you’re much more than what you’re doing. You’re awareness residing in the body. This is where we experience the love we’re looking for. It’s who we are. Once we’ve let go we discover the exquisite balance of head and heart and we discover a tremendous ability to manifest. We develop better skills at stepping out of the way of what’s happening in front of us in a manner where we can really see it. The more we move into this witness mind, the more we can move into the broader dimensions of our collective experience. Beyond thought, emotion and the physical, we allow the energy of the world (God, Source, Allah, Rama, Sattva, whatever label used) to pass through us, to reveal to us, without our getting caught, wounded or conditioned by it. We move from the social trance to ‘waking up’. Some have called this the “aha” mind as we witness the trance in the world. I recall someone telling me this is our challenge, to live in the moment, to be of it and not to say, “this is my moment”. It’s the moment of instant opportunity to “be”. Beauty is continually being asked to be seen, even in the most terrible of places. Our practice is to not miss this opportunity of the moment. Katagiri Roshi said, “Each moment, emergency moment”. In the book Each Moment is the Universe he says:

Emptiness is not negative; emptiness is letting go of fixed ideas in order to go beyond them. The Christian mystic Meister Eckhart called it the desert: in the dessert of emptiness, everything dies and comes back to life. This is really true. Otherwise you would never be successful in doing anything at all. When you dance, when you sing, when you walk, when you do zazen (sitting meditation), whatever you do you must be empty first. Then your body and mind become flexible and you can really jump into painting, dancing, eating breakfast, washing your face, chanting or doing zazen. At that time you become one with your activity, whatever it is, and do your best. p. 53

When we’re filled with thought we can’t be fully present. We can’t totally turn ourselves over to what we’re doing. We don’t experience the refreshment that comes from emptiness, the newness of the moment, facing the wonder and surprise of the next arising moment.

I know some of you may be questioning the wisdom in letting go our plans. While all spiritual traditions speak to faith in that which is bigger than us, the relative world does make certain demands upon us. We’re continually facing the tension of the social trance and waking up as we move from relative reality and absolute reality. It’s why understanding intention is important. We can carry intention in the moment. In his book The Isaiah Effect Greg Braden describes some secrets of prayer as discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many others have written about this (Esther Hicks: Ask and It is Given, Wayne Dyer: The Power of Intention, The Secret). They all describe the necessity of ‘feeling’ the gift of what’s asked for outside of the abstractions of time and space. There can be no doubt as we juice our request with the fullness of it’s completion within the present moment of the asking. He denotes the difference between the petitionary prayer and this kind of prayer. In the first we’re asking conditions to be different with the help of an outside power. In the second we’re touching the fullness of receiving the gift at the moment of it’s asking. It’s why I like to refer to meditation as “making space to find the gift in the given”. It’s complicated because this prayer demands a full surrender to the heart, aligned completely with the base intention of “no harm”. When these requests are made in the syrup of love from a stilled mind, coming from our center, we’re fully in the emergency moment. No craving. No desire. No doubt. No suffering. This is real healing, real return to our wholeness, breaking the illusion of our separateness. It’s touching the Ultimate, the peace that passes all understanding or reason, joy, etc., accepting and knowing that the next negative thought or emotion is just around the corner. Again, it’s of human nature to live with the restless mind. It’s with humility and gratitude our spiritual teachers have shown us a way to suffer less. Isn’t that what we’re all here for…to help one another suffer less?

Prayer of Loving Kindness

May you be in peace.
May you be healed from all resentment
May you awake
May you be happy
May you be in love now

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