How To Create Space For Your Best Response

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In the balance of embodiment, in the pause between cognition and articulation, is where we can learn how to create space for our best response.

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“To those of us here, quite a lot of things arising personally I’m sure. In terms of having come in, I think landed a little bit, opening up and experiencing all the things we’ve been experiencing. There’s a kind of enriching and filling up with that, at a point of which one is okay. This is how it is now and just holding that, you can get the time to create a way so it’s kind of quietening of any volition, any pushing, any expectation, any solutions, just holding it, letting it roll its own way and so there’s a sense of care, prudence.

So this morning, I thought I’d talk about respect, particularly respecting space, and respect understood in the spiritual way is a kind of spacious love. It’s in fact equanimity again. It’s a sense of holding the experience, the felt experience, without any strategies or end games should be another way. So it’s kind of respect for holding and this word ‘respect’ can have many flavorings and could be used in different ways but I’m meaning in this way, and particularly respecting space, respecting space, having respect for one space.

This experience is rather rare in the social world because there’s a huge amount of impact unchosen, unrequested, unnegotiated impact coming from the world around us, the media, everything is not respecting our space but jumping into it, impacting, a lot of impact, impressions, so it’s continually pulling our attention out in to an experience of that tingling, that vibrating, that whatever runs through you when stuff touches you and stuff hits you.

So its sounds, excitements, blandishments, threats and so forth, promises, enticements come and pulling at not just the visual way but also psychological way. So it’s both the visual, auditory, whatever and the psychological push-pulling out in to you know getting excited, get happy, get angry, get motivated, get busy, get important, get on as if it’s pulling out of one’s energies and presence in to this kind on rolling that is not one’s own, so end up running in a race that we can never win and we never really wanted in, therefore, feeling inadequate. So it’s impacting experience.

But one of the results of it is that when one is pulled out so much, not just to the senses but psychologically pulled out in to compulsions, in to having to be something, make something, do something, find something, something or the other, that it’s like you’re losing your center. One’s centrality, one’s ability to just be quietly, intimately present and still and completed is taken away. It’s a robbery really. Without that adequate center, we might not even think this through or know it but I’m suggesting something that wash over your mind and see if there’s a kind of an ounce of resonance in there. To me, it becomes just the way it seems to me a loss of center which brings a lot of inner okay not because of something happening, not because of something I’m doing, not with something I’m making, it’s just because being here is okay. It’s just this. It’s just you know it’s ready, it could do, don’t have to do, could do but right now this is okay. So this is really a quiet center.

It’s not a traumatic, powerful center or seemingly powerful. It’s quiet. It’s a soft center, not proving anything. In worldly terms, it doesn’t seem like very much. This is our center.

So we’ve been doing some of the Chi gong exercises, then part of that is about trying to almost sense inwardly in to a center, a center line, a midline, you know, whether you feel anything or not but at least withdrawing or letting the energies that are going out come back in collecting inwardly, so we can’t exactly feel tactile but you may feel a certain balance quality and that’s one of the hallmarks of it in a physical sense is you feel balanced. The balance, the center is there. But where is balance? Is it in your foot? No. Where is it? It’s somewhere and it’s nowhere. It’s everywhere and it’s nowhere. You can’t have a balanced thumb.

It’s how everything, every bit fits together because there’s a center, an invisible center, non-tangible center around everything in which everything coordinates and there’s a sense of mutuality and coordination of all the varying bits of the body, we could when we stand or in balance, the shoulders, the belly, the back, the knees.

Everything is aware of that and nothing is missing, nothing is absent and nothing is resisting it and what we find is lovely balance, center. And you can find all the periphery but it’s not going out in to it. The periphery is there but it’s kind of softly held and there’s sense of centrality and balance. That’s what it is in the bodily sense, bodily domain.

And as I mentioned many times, I see these three domains – the bodily domain, the domain of the heart, and the domain of the intellectual – as being three aspects of a holistic presence but you can start with one that is more available, accessible in particular features to it and the bodily feature has a sense of presence, balance and you can get that. It’s very useful because when you can feel that in your body and being aware of that in your bodily sense, then it also gives a quality of calm, calm and well, it is a dignity, uprightness and okayness, contentment. This theme is there. And you can pick that up in your heart. And perhaps when we do mindfulness of breathing, we do it, we experience, we did a mindful settle on the breathing, then it’s exactly breathing in to this central quiet balance sense. What happens in the heart sense is that there’s no pushing, there’s no gripping, no holding but this is settling. This is settling, pausing, unhurried, it is there, even there.

In terms of the intellect, it’s the place when we’re almost about to articulate something is forming if we sort of getting to know something, we’re just that point of “ah,” “aha”, then the thought rises up. So it started just before the thought arises. Maybe you see something and then it’s that open place of recognition where we kind of got it. We’re just getting it here, it’s that, when the light bulb comes on but it hasn’t yet come out with the words that you got it. So it’s a cognitive presence, and certainly, in all of these, the tendency of this is to rush over that, to skip past it. It’s there when we skip past it. Yeah. We come up with the answer pretty promptly on and on, so we come up with the reaction promptly. Something happens and we jump to it.

When we go to stand up to get out the door, we’re already half out the door before we got to our feet. There’s a scramble of going to the green light. The green light is that – so there’s a saying yesterday, if you want to be wise, learn to be stupid. It means just before you come up with the great idea, just pause and the beginning of that let yourself rest more deeply in to that moment of recognizing to see if you got the fullness of that. Is it fully there? Is it fully rounded? You get it fully emerged. You get the flash of “Oh yes,” and then we jump and then we react, “I know what it is, it’s that.” Yeah, yeah, well, it’s that enough. Yeah.

Could it be you could know what it is, you know the answer, you know what to do and it just pours on that waiting for just a little bit more, a little bit more because what would come up with it is not just the idea but the way of holding that idea, way of holding that bit of speech, the way of framing it, the way of checking it, the way of recognizing it, the way of handling it.

So wisdom isn’t just the idea or the thought or the knowledge, but the handling of it, the careful placing of it. So we’re not just coming up with lots and lots of ideas and know it is and know that the other but we—then when you handle it, actually a little bit is enough, a little bit is enough. This is the property of mindfulness tree. This isn’t mindfulness in attention. It doesn’t take much to be attentive when I tell you something sometimes. You just get it. But then mindfulness is where we’ve not just got it but we saw a wisdom in that. There’s a reason which is the wisdom of letting emerge fully so that the sense of being in the fullness of holding that, the fullness the felt meaning, the sense of that so that it can be placed when it’s—so I think mindfulness is not perhaps as easy and immediate as one might assume it to be. It’s connected with the term to remember. You’re doing what your memories like.

But mine is going, “I think it was, what, I’m not sure it’s the third year… Wait, give me a moment, will you?” It’s not senior moments anymore. It’s junior moments. Seniors, it’s like it takes a while before it really forms and even then you’re not quite certain, you know. That’s where it is now. So rather the jumping, so the assumption or the conclusion is that “is it this?” and then you feel not necessarily more information but more sense of presence with that, with that piece of and you get a feeling of it and in that feeling of it, you can sense other things such as impatience or anxiety or gladness or happiness or whatever it is, so then you get the full bit of it, and that is all held carefully.

This is the you know quality of the center is the quality of pause, the quality of openness, the quality of non-action, but non-action that refuses action, that rejects action, and the moment of the tipping point, the moment of balance when we’re about to but not yet, about to but not yet, with listening to what emerges in that place. So then in that particular point, it’s like the turning point of the wave from impact to response, from cognition to articulation, in a mental sense, from receiving an impression and responding to it in the heart. It’s that point of balance between those polarities from you say the receptive having received formulated to the active the putting it out. There’s a point there that’s where just an excellent rapports of that point. So we’d really allow it to arise and with that comes the sense of the likeness and the balance and the correct holding. This is what to respect, say respect the space, because it’s not allowed space. It’s not a dominant space.

It’s not a flashy space. It’s easy to disregard it. Space is the bits continually getting trimmed and paired out of our lives. It’s an endangered species.

For lack of space, continually fill up the moment, the message is that so you get used to that, cha-ga-jug-jug-jug-jug-jug rhythm. Some of it is quite fun, amusing, entertaining, regular old thingy handy thing that you can have 1500 songs and on so you never have had a moment without having something that you can put in, text somebody, contact somebody in Mombasa or wreck your vehicle or Santiago or some of the other. So you never have a moment when there isn’t something you can get activated by and all that and it’s quite powerfully amazing, interesting and yeah, useful, yet the psychology of respecting space is gone. Space is the dull bit. Space is the disconnect. Space is the empty. Space is the lonely.

Space is the not in touch. Space is the attitude. Space is all that, when this is gross disrespect for medium that is for our basic sanity health balance. We have to very take it quite seriously because nothing else is going to take it seriously if you don’t, every opportunity in the world to lose it, the encouragement to lose it, you got to take it seriously, but seriously lovingly also, so [non grimacing] I’m saying this precious possibility.

Now as long as we’re in the experience of things manifesting externally or internally, sense objects, duties, things we have to do, presence of other people, say things manifesting, then the space is not about excluding all that but about finding the medium to stay in your own center and let response come from that rather from for one’s often well meaning reactivity. I’ll get this done. I’ll get this done. It’s fixed and now you go, that thing, yeah – often quite well meaning or this is the way everybody else is doing. The alternative is just shut it all off, you know.

And it’s going to happen particularly it’s almost you can say a defense patter that we just can’t, it’s too much, can’t do it, can’t handle it, and just shut it all down, shut it off. And these are associated with the two particular currents of ignorance and unknowing or uncertainty about how we respond where it’s called ‘bhava’ which is becoming which means we impel in to response or reaction in a kind of tumbling way. We tumble on in to it with somehow this sense “By doing this, I will get to the end of it. If I go a little bit faster, I’ll get to the solution. I’ll get to the end of it.”

This is very common. “Just get this done and then we’ll get to the nice bit at the end of it.” It’s like running to the race, isn’t it? It’s funny how the race always stays in front of you.

“If I sort this out, everything is going to be okay, then I can meditate.”

So this is impelling. It’s not necessarily associated with anything distinctly unwholesome. It’s not the ethical thing. This is psychological tumbling over in to things with that kind of mythology behind it and impression will get through this and then there’s the blue water then everything is okay. As we do in the churning, our movement churns up more of the blue water so it’s all white water. Life can be spent like this.

And what this does I know in fact we may make indeed some progress in terms of fixing the house and so forth but this psychologically we haven’t really gone anywhere. We’ve been treading water. We should got to that end of the story because the story just got more characters in it now. Then you got a house, garden, car, dog, dat, dat, dat, and you got to keep all that running too so it’s a little more of that too just get sorted out and then everything will okay and so it rolls on and this is impelling into it and of course this is very much advocated in a consumer society because they’re going to always sell you another thing to make it more okay. If you’re working hard to get the money for it, you can buy one of these things that give you more leisure. But you don’t have the leisure because you’re working so hard to buy the next labor saving device.

So this is becoming quality and it is not just crude external, but there’s also this internal—if I could only clear my feelings about my so and so, my relationship with this and that, my attitudes then I’ll be okay. The impelling of that propulsion, at least everything we touch, we’re looking to get to the end of it. We’re looking to make it becomes something else. That’s why it’s called becoming. We’re making to make this become something else. Internally, I want to become enlightened. I want to become more peaceful, a nicer person, whatever it is, and all that, which is never really meeting anything fully because we’re always that inclination, the intention to make it become something else so I can become something else.

This is one powerful propulsion, takes us out of center. It’s called ‘bhava’ or ‘bhava-tanha’ whatever the forms the second noble truth is just this. ‘Karma-tanha’ the propelling out in to the sense fears, something out there I could – sight, sound, touch, I could build in to make me feel okay in the good space. ‘Bhava-tanha is something like become to make me come in to that the good space. And the other one is ‘vibhava-tanha’ or ‘vibhava’ which is “if only I could shut this off, I’d be okay. If only I could close this down, I’d be okay.” So it’s kind of I could say a movement backwards, for lack of a better word, just to give you a kind of a graphic impression of those currents. And always “if I could only have a little more solitude, a little more privacy, a little more time of my own, a little more less to do, I’d be okay,” so we’re always pulling back, back, back.

So these are the psychological or spiritual psychological currents that I called “The Origin of Suffering”. But it didn’t say sights are suffering, sounds are sufferings, people are suffering, no. It didn’t say activities are suffering. It didn’t say jobs are suffering, dogs are suffering, relationships are suffering. It said the sub causes, the origin of it is just these title currents that impel us in to things because where are you going to meet a world where there’s no senses? So you’re going to shut that off. Where there’s nothing you have to do, shut that off, or there’s no sense of having to make something happen or these directives but it’s that the way in which prior to pausing, reflecting, meeting, contemplating were already in activity so our sense is lost, the stillness is lost, the sense of stillness is lost, the balance is lost.

So we’re always in a tumble. And the tumble itself then churns up a lot of other energies such as the feeling of unbalanced, overwhelmed, there’s too much happening to me, overwhelmed, unbalanced, anxious, inadequate, struggling, pressurized, so forth. Those currents stir up that. They track more and more of the same material. Our minds keep spinning around it. Sitting here, there’s really not much to do and yet our minds are kind of regurgitating the eddies of those currents, with all the data that we can bring up, the memories and the anticipations and the self images we can bring up that ride on and give form to these currents.

These are dynamics but the more that we roll around them, the more they become structures. The dynamics are rather like way forms as they perpetuate, have a certain tenacious vortex like structuring to them.

So after all that is what we feel ourselves as be. We are the becoming here and the frustration of that. So it’s salutary to be able to even name it, I’m not entirely agreeable but to name that, this is not an ethical issue. This is not a blame situation. It’s just a realization of the currents that are there for the human being and the Buddha would only have said this if there was a way out of it.

Was it like twist a knife in the wound? He’s only saying this in order to you know if you can see this, if you can say this, you’re right on the edge of coming out of it. You’re right on the point of coming out of it. Yeah. So this is what overview means. We’re coming out of the tickler, details of that topics of our what I need to do by Wednesday and so forth or how I never quite get enough space or time by myself of whatever it is and just, “Oh, let’s just lift of that,” and you try to feel the current, the tide, the endless pulling away or the endless pushing in to, rolling in to and all of the vulnerability that brings with it. This already is suffering and it makes us very strip to spare. We then become even more accessible to forms, to energies that we’ll continue to perpetuate those currents.

As they say, if you want done something done, find a busy person, because the busy ones are the ones that are really in to the “I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I’ll do it.” So they’ll say, “Oh yeah, okay, I’ll do that.” If you want something done, find someone who is busy because that is the people who the current of becoming, getting things fixed has become very prominent in. It surprises you that it doesn’t make sense.

So you can counteract that need, just a reminder slogan when there’s not enough time, there’s enough time then you must go slowly. First your first duty is to come out that not enough time because otherwise you’re going to go in to that fragmenting crushed state. So there’s a danger signal. There’s not enough time. That’s the danger signal. There’s not enough time, it’s time to go slowly. It’s to pause. It’s time to count to 10. That just takes us, just helps us to come off of the push of that reactivity in to so you find your presence, it doesn’t mean you don’t respond. You just first of all got to come back to your own stillness, your own presence, your own balance. Without that, you don’t do very good anyway. So this is the pause, place of ceasing. The ceasing is not annihilation. It’s not aversive. It’s not annihilation. It’s the place where things rest, nirodha, the non running out.

So here, for example, we’re doing our chores and there’s certainly some kind of time boundary bell rings and so forth, just get used to hearing the sound of bell without jumping. You hear the telephone ring, you hear the sound of the telephone ringing, without jumping the telephone is ringing. Okay, here I am I’m hearing it one moment and you’re answering the phone. Just building in those micro pauses in that reactivity current. I might be a minute late. So yeah, in retreat situation, what I like to see is not everybody rushing in at the same time. I like to see somebody coming in three minutes late and guiltless. Good, good, good. She’s keeping her balance, guiltless late walking in. And then you ring the bell at the end of the sitting, it’s nice to just have that moment when “Here I am. Everybody.

Yeah.” Getting up, rather than he jumps up and so on.

So you’re learning to hear the signal and yet signal is also a reminder what the first thing it’s saying to you is go to your center. You don’t hear that you—what you generally hear is react. But I’m telling you try to translate the signal, the bell signal or any of those activation signals, the first message you should hear from is go to your center. Find out if—then you, because only then can you really fare that you’re acting in the full responsibility of what emerges from the center. Learning to leave the day unfinished. So just in the day life practice, I have a sense if I can only tidy all up at the end of the day, what gets tied up at the end of the day is me finally. So I left bits of papers still on the desk, things unfinished. I don’t like that. I like it to all kind of sorted, you know. That’s it. I’m not going to try to keep saying solid tidy. It’s an accurate read out of that’s where the energy wave concluded.

Stop, pause. Okay. And there’s a little bit of loose space rather than just cramming to the last moment.

These are kind of daily life suggestions, my suggestions myself – compulsive, immediate, workaholic, programs, I will say that’s all I am but I can recognize those, take responsibility and so… then the pause. Now one of the—the pause is in terms of or it helps us in a more determined activities, things we determine. The 10 paramis, I mentioned those, these are nice range of ways in which we act with that in mind, with the generosity, with the patience, with the truthfulness, so there’s a collecting so what comes up with that flavoring to it where we act on somebody with got a part that dishes and you get in to that hurry up, hurry up and get to the end, you action comes up with the patience flavoring to it so we just one dish is all I’m doing. Then the one dish pulling it down, picking up the next dish, holding it carefully, putting it down, trying to work on the patience and resolution, realizing that finally dishes never get finished. There’s an endless pile of them.

Truthfulness, this is so it’s truthful with what resources, what we’re managing, we got a clear steady sense of that generosity, the giving quality and giving is always free. It’s free. There’s no obligation. Obligation is called paying. Giving rather than paying. So it’s coming from a fullness and it’s like feeding the ducks, if you got one break crumb, and that’s it, you give your one breadcrumb fully. You’re not anguishing about not having 20 bread crumbs, which you got to get out there by the end of the day. So as I say, the dawn of generosity, where the Buddharupa you got one stick of incense, which is even one fourth. I’ve never seen a Buddharupa got that stingy. One scrummy stick of incense, you know it’s always fine I say. Now the Buddha doesn’t demand any payments, but just the purity of your honesty and that quality, so it’s encouragement. Similarly, that’s a sense of what proper [anger] is about. In the monastic sense, it’s where just whatever is offered is offered just because of the joy of the offering.

There’s no payment. Everything is equally appreciated. It’s all good stuff because we’re treasuring this precious resource of people coming from the center and encouraging that center. Strength is the center. The more you act from the center, the more that center becomes strong. You respect it.

Looking at external praise, admiration, whatever, you respect your own center and the more you respect it, the stronger it gets. This is cultivation of parami. In meditation, then this act if you like is our soft dynamics that create a soft structure for our lives because it’s not exactly soft; in other words, it’s not how much generosity you have or how patient you have, just you as patient as you could be at this time. So it’s soft. In other words, it’s not prescribed but it’s encouraged to be a little more than patient than you were, that’s all just a little bit more for one more minute, that’s all like that. So the dynamic of that becomes a soft structure. It’s able to flex and grow. It’s not fixed.

So perhaps with time, sometimes you can get a little more patient. It will grow. So that’s a structure that is subject to grow. It’s soft. It’s potent. It’s green. We code our lives with that, that respect for the center means that now we can meditate. Now you’ve created the ground for the meditation to occur. As I said earlier, really I don’t like to have anything sounding negative about anything really about because they’re trying the best they can to encourage whatever we can. But in the long run, they kind of feel that however much we try to meditate and so on that it can’t really – it’s almost the attempt to meditate and our inability to do so can keep derating us to why the field of cultivation.

“So I can’t really meditate” or “my mind is all confused, I better just stop being so active. I can’t really meditate because I’m obsessed with guilt and worry. Well, yet it means [0:41:59] tend to be a little bit more joyous and giving and develop good friendships. So often our inability to meditate can kind of if we listen to the message it can send out the directives to how to cultivate the field that we live within, right livelihood, right action, right thought, right speech, moral precepts, friendships and so forth. And then as that comes together, then you know almost the center forms and then we got something where the meditation can occur.

Partly, this awareness of a field which is what right view is, the field of cause and effect, the field of gratitude and appreciation of what we inherit, the field of respect and realization or recognition of there are those who have realized the awakening and somehow we’re in that field also recognizing that this very life doesn’t just terminate the death and begins with the birth of body because that would be the only example of a separate instance in the whole universe, everything is connected. You can’t – suddenly bomb pops up and then bomb drops dead. You have a rising up, a fact is that generates this particular being of streams of streams and currents that crystallizes to form this and some of this would drop away within a year, 10 years, 5 years, 20 years, 50 years, 100 years. So in the middle of that, we have this sense of being a person but who I am now is certain who I was when I was 18 months old. It could carry some of those potentials but a lot more has been added since and some of it has fallen away, thankfully.

So that sense of this realization, what it is that’s arise, you’re handling a current, a skein of many streams and vortices. We all have that potentials and so there’s no hurry in it but there is responsibility for handling it. It’s all kind of connected to cause or principles. In a sense this is also causing time and also in space. What’s around me, who’s around me, the fact that there is space and out of the reign around me, I’m pretty grateful. It helps me to meditate. So in a way, we keep cultivating the field within which we can feel more comfortable, we’re integrated, more sense of respect for this, respect for that, to others as to myself, which is the great mantra of holism, holistic understanding. And then what can occur is because there was in the field, that field is probably cultivated from the center, from a true centrality rather than get everything sorted out but bring forth from one center in to the field around you then your center gets stronger and when you sit, you can feel this in a balance of self respect, it’s not a puffed up self respect. It’s just that it’s no disrespect. There’s no self wounding. There’s no tyrant beating us up. There’s no tide of compulsion to get, to have and to make. There’s an openness. There’s no sense of having to resist thing. All those ties at least are diminished. It may not be completely finished but diminished. You can see there is a certain central presence even in the midst of some of these vortices. And this is rarely where the other factors that, enlightenment factors, for example paramount talk about those begin to emerge.

First of these is mindfulness. There’s that mindfulness. Samma sati – right mindfulness. I don’t think it is as immediate as it may seem. Placing attention is certainly a big part of it. But as I suggested there’s also the intentionality with that the way in which we place attention, the holding, the listening, the fullness of that, the sense of meeting, holding the balance. I don’t think they’re always so easy so immediately there with only some things but other things we are attentive to but not really mindful of. We’ve been placing our attention on it but we’re not softening in to the full setting on to that experience, settling on to it. And of course with mindfulness breathing, how we can just settle on to the breathing without holding it, gripping it, sliding off it but meeting it, letting it meet out our attention, and that meeting place, this is what’s called true mindfulness, the ability to really take in, bear in mind, hold it without you’ve all getting caught in it nor dominating it nor reacting to it. And this is a first of the enlightenment factors is beautiful quality, samma sati.

On this mindfulness, there isn’t how much mindfulness. It is how mindful am I, that’s not mindfulness. This is a recognition of it’s lost, it’s gone, and the recognition of there is that settling but there’s no accountancy in there. There’s no got to be more mindful. There’s no more mindful. You can’t say, “I’ll have even more balance.” You know, “How big is your balance?” It’s just that, isn’t it? It’s complete in itself.

Some objects we may not be very mindful of, that’s true. Our ability to be mindful may not be that strong but the quality of mindfulness is exactly the same. So we feel a contentment in that and a sense of completeness in there. So this is why it’s an enlightenment factor. Immediately with that, there is a quality of awakening to that, to that stillness, to that sense of inner pause that we so long for because it is where we fill our home, our collectedness, our completion and this isn’t just building up awakening, it’s every factor is in a way an expression of awakening, a taste of it.

Investigation, the ability of the mind to deeply hold and look in to those causes and currents in a curious way. This is a lovely term I’ve heard people used. So instead of what this is it’s only kind of frustration to try and get to the heart of this is curious, always this. So it’s selfless. We’re not trying to fix or figure something out, we’re just teasing out the skein. Because there is mindfulness, because there is that stillness and contentment, we can just take our time teasing out. This is the quality, discerning the qualities. This is the painful. This is the reactive. This is that—so you’re like looking in to a web and with this is the deepening, also with that stillness of non-identification, anatta.

Energy rapture, energy that feels motivated, not driven, not compelled, but there’s a keenness in motivation because this is what we call joyful energy, energy of some enthusiasm, some brightness in what we’re doing rather than got to get but enjoying the play of it. Joyful energy rapture, so how does energy become rapture rather than rupture? If you get that one right, you’ve definitely done a lot with your bhava vibhava instincts. There’s a sense of the joy of an effort with the mind is delighting, feeling some strength, feeling some agility, feeling some happiness as we handle things – piti, a sense of being able to smooth out like we’re beautifying, beautifying the mind, beautifying these currents that arise.

And this is where the sense of samadhi, unification, occurs because samadhi is quite a big topic. But consider tranquility, less valium tainted and more grooming like just brushing a horse in the sense of the gloss and the smoothness, brushing out the crinkles and the tangles.

So it’s not dulling effect. It’s not a compressing effect. It’s a smoothing, making something smooth, softening, carefully brushing. Doing this too to your own body with your mind. Brushing over the textures, the skin, swiffing the body just as if you got a soft brush and you know I bet you don’t like to feel you’re a horse, but that’s the only thing I see people brushing with care. Often with yourself it’s kind of scrub, scrub, brush, brush, knock, knock but you know it’s just that kind of careful grooming because one delights, one loves the thing that one is brushing and there’s a sense of delighting in the work, not get it done, shut up, be still.

So through the body and the mind, that’s where we might begin with the body, beginning with the mind, what it takes to have that smoothing, loving quality of applied joyful energy to our tangledness rather than frustration if we’re locked in it.

The result of this is samadhi. Samadi again a little reminder, I could offer my understanding of it that may be help you. Samadhhi isn’t something you do. It’s not concentrate. Samadhi is a result, arriving at a collected state. So that perhaps tends to take the emphasis not from the doing concentration and for me when I’m doing concentration on anything there’s a kind of tightening. And worldly concentration is the burrowed forehead, isn’t it, is the sign of concentrated mind, tightened eyes, tightened forehead, concentrating. “Excuse me, I’m really concentrating on something.” So where is the happiness? Where is the smoothing? Where is the joyfulness in that? Where is the settling? Where is the comfort? Where is the resting that? It isn’t there. So don’t do concentration. This is my bit. If other teachers told you to do concentration and it works for you, my blessings. It doesn’t work for me. So you just work it out for yourself what you want to do. But when we look at the factors of samadi, again I’ll repeat something I said before, one is free from regret because one has a sense of self-respect, respect for others of moral ethical sense. You don’t abuse others. You don’t abuse yourself then your heart will be gladdened. It will be free from the taint of regret and remorse, anxiety. Your heart is gladdened. You’ll feel a sense of gladness.

You take it in to your body. Your body will feel restful and relaxed and balanced. When your body is refreshed, relaxed and balanced, your mind will be happy. A happy person’s mind concentrates by itself. There’s a sutta where the Buddha says there’s no need to make a further intention, further effort to do so. If you build it up consecutively, one thing flows from one to the other. So it’s just that inclination as we feel the sense of happiness, just to rest and stay and collect this and send it, the message through the body, the heart, and the thinking mind because they easily fragment. It’s just settling one place, settling down. And equanimity, the last of the enlightenment factors is this very precious and top of the list in all these lists, rightly so because it’s indeed that which can hold the space between parami. It’s holding a space between myself or my apparent self and you.

We are not rushing in to you. We are not pushing you away. Holding my space between my frustration and that which bothers me. The things that I really want to get done and the must get this done and the sense of I don’t know how to do this.

The contradictions. It’s just wait, hold the space. Trust what arises. Trust what emerges. When nothing emerges, just widen, soften this a bit more deeply, give it a time. And this arising, an emergence of realization, of recognition, of wisdom which is not mine, not coming from me. It arises from this fear of equanimity, from the stillness, from the pause.

So that’s enough I think talking this morning from me anyway. So I just again encourage you to find those pauses, the micro pauses between cognition and articulation. So cognition is the moment we recognize, articulation is when we form it in to a thought, just finding that are you sure like not yet sure. You put a not yet sure, not yet sure between the impact and your response, not quite sure, not quite there yet, putting that there. And in your body, between the go for it and not yet in balance, not yet here. Just trusting and respecting that rather than seeing as a dithering or whatever. Then this is your refuge place. You respect and value that.

You’re not going to get thrown out by the currents, and you get to the end of suffering.”

– Ajahn Sucitto, 2010



Author: Sean Fargo
About Sean Fargo At the peak of his career as Director of Asian Operations for AsiaEXP, Sean Fargo traded in his worldly aspirations to explore the inner life by ordaining as a Buddhist monk for two years in the Thai Theravada tradition. Since disrobing in 2010, he has supported thousands of meditation practitioners at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, facilitated mindfulness classes in San Quentin and Solano State Prisons, and has lead several workshops at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education teen retreats. A dedicated student of spirituality and mindfulness, he has studied with Jack Kornfield, Analayo Bhikkhu, Phillip Moffitt, and many other teachers in the US and Asia. His teaching path is guided by Guy Armstrong, Senior Teachers Council member for both Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Insight Meditation Society. Founder of MindfulnessExercises.com, he offers secular mindfulness e-courses with certifications available for personal and professional skill sets. Enrolled in New Ventures West's Coaching Certification Program, Sean expects to certify as an Integral Life Coach in November 2014. He graduated with honors from University of California at Santa Barbara’s Global Studies Department in 2000. Sean offers private instruction to adults, teens, companies, and organizations. Contact Sean Fargo for more info.

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