suffering always boils down to the grasping mind, a mind that loses awareness of body and breath and floods out of embodied awareness, either
1) into the world, searching for pleasant experiences
2) thoughts, feelings, perceptions, moods that are passing through the mind
—the mind loves to grasp lokas, entire thought worlds, and narratives
with lokas, (inner movies or daydreams) we're often grasping onto ideas and images we've imagined a state that cannot in fact be experienced: life of lasting ease without pain, an ultimate wisdom, a true purpose to life that withstands logical inquiry.
—as long as we're caught in the craving for a state that cannot exist for a lasting period, we blame something about ourselves here and now as being the reason we can't have our utopian, perfect ideal.
—we're looking for some kind of image to aspire to.
sometimes the mind tunes into self-regarding blow by blow narratives, sankharas, (voice overs)
—i've been mistreated narratives
—what might happen to me in the future narratives
—how i compare with others
the stories about ourselves have all the addictive elements that allure the mind:
1) my stories are about me, which i'm fascinated by
2) the stories are often dramatized by taking them personally. we believe what we experience is ours alone, that people are doing things to us
3) we tend to focus on speculative narratives, to try and figure out the future (ie how the future will play out, or what other people are thinking)
4) we tend to emphasize outrages and inconveniences, (ajahn brahma's two bricks)
the big illusion of self-narratives
our stories distract from felt stresses of being subject to change beyond our control
even our self-lacerating, judgmental narratives are distractions from what we fear more
1) the sensation of being in a body where stress arises, seemingly beyond our control
2) the fact that the world outside offers no shelter or safety; no one is in charge
3) the world cannot ever answer our cravings
In the classic moment from roadrunner cartoons, the coyote would run of the edge of the cliff, his legs continuing to spin in mid-air, and he would hover, though there was no ground beneath him.
—Its only when the coyote looks down and sees that there is no ground that he falls.
In our lives we use our future oriented narratives to reassure ourselves that there is solidity in life where there is none.
—there is no assurance of a tomorrow, any human body can cease working at any time
—in all times, no matter how secure people believe they are financially, fortunes can be wiped away in moments
—jobs can disappear
—people can suddenly change, ending relationships
the buddha told people, "hey, look down! there's nothing there."
Matrix metaphor: morpheous tells neo "you're here because all your life you've felt there's something wrong, but you don't know what it is' and he offers him a blue pill to continue living in the illusion, a red pill to see the truth, which is that this illusion to distract them from the truth of their existence.
—the hegemonic illusion is that if we experience enough externally(via travel or outlying events)—we will experience the real truth
—that the truth is waiting out there to be found.
—the buddha told people, "hey, take the red pill! it's an illusion."
buddho means 'he who has awaken' from the trance, the inner movies (lokas) and narratives (voice overs) that distract us
dropping the narratives
in meditation we develop the practice of dropping the narratives.
the present has no story, no thread
—the determination we need to develop lasting ease (with all the pains and frustrations that arise in life) is based on a repetitive practice that keeps going on and on.
—so it has to be a practice that has both ease and rewards to it
—a practice we can drop into, rather than having to put together from conditioned materials
the mind wants to believe that the way out of illusion is via restoring awareness to sight and sound: external reality. where am i? etc.
while this has its merits, the way we wake up, take the red pill, is first through removing the underlying physical stress that maintains the illusion.
—a relaxed breath and body makes the mind's illusions less entrancing
Once the physical component of our experience is relaxed, we move on an awareness of the emotional state we're in: are we wearing rose colored glasses, or black?
—what's the level of mental energy? anxious or sluggish?
—what's coloring the mind's perceptions? lust, fear, craving, anger, doubt, exhaustion?
—thankfully, once we become aware of the state our mind is in, it tends to fall away on its own.
these moods and attitudes really deceive us: we really believe that person is definitely awful, simply because of my perception. Once we see that the mood is often there BEFORE the perception, it changes our dependence on these voice overs.
its not as difficult as it seems
luckily, beneath the narratives, there's an awareness that continues
—its simply been consumed by the plot.
—coming back to heedful awareness, is like waking up from a day dream.
there's a heart quality to the practice, where all realizations are experiences we can rest into, not intellectual ways of explaining the world, but rather simple outlooks that unite mind and body