2020-02-09: Freedom From Self
10:39PM Jun 21, 2020
Everyone, welcome to IMC.
So the little, maybe a little a poignant introduction to what I'd like to talk about today is the statement that we participate in our world in whatever way we do. And then through Buddhist practice, we go into our bodies. And then we come out and participate in the world a different way. And there's a tremendous value in traditional Buddhism and really mindfulness to the body going into the body going inward in a certain way, not as a rejection of the world, but to come out in a different way, be turned inside out, perhaps, and participate in the world, hopefully in a wiser, freer kind of way. So to follow up on that little introduction, I'd like to do a little exercise with all of you that be begins with an exercise that I do often enough when I do when I teach introduction to Buddhist meditation, to give people a sense of how to do mindfulness of the body. And so I'll guide you in that little introduction, and then I'll use it for a different purpose for what I'm trying to talk about today. So you don't have to change your posture, but you just close your eyes, if you'd like. And maybe taking a few gentle, larger breaths. And as you exhale to relax into your body
and letting your breathing return to normal. And just in a very general, relaxed, open way, check in With your body, see how your body is and just so you can maybe a little bit more easily settle into it or relax into your body.
And then bring your attention to your to one of your hands
and hold your awareness there in your hand and become aware of the sensations that are their sensations in the palm of the hand.
The back of the hand The fingers
perhaps there's some pulsing or tingling in the hands.
Perhaps you feel coolness and warmness in your hand.
Perhaps the weight of the hand, the lightness of the hand,
the contact of the hand against some other part of your body pressure weight Touch.
Perhaps there's pleasant sensations or aching sensations in your hand.
So whatever sensations you feel there, see if you can also notice their particularity how they're just sensations in a particular place in your body. Maybe they appear and disappear. dance around in your hand fibrate And with your eyes closed, perhaps there's not even any really clear boundaries between inside and outside your hand. But there are the sensations that are vibrating appearing there in your hand.
And those sensations perhaps exists, they're independent, whatever preferences you have, or whatever you think about your hand or about those sensations. Those sensations just exist in the hand for themselves and themselves.
In the sense that particular sensations in and of themselves have nothing to do with yesterday or the past or the future, tomorrow. They're just here now. you're experiencing of them is now. When this exercise is over, you might not pay attention to your hand this way for quite a while. in a certain way they exist without a past in the future. They're just here.
Some of those sensations in your hand. Don't quite qualify as being you. You didn't make them happen. You didn't construct them in 10 them just as because of causes and conditions of the moment they appear.
And the sensations in of themselves are independent of your mind of what you think and what you want, what you don't want. in a certain way the sensations are free of your desires and your aversions, your preferences and the thoughts you have about the hand or about the exercise. dispensations are for appear and in a certain way is free to just freely in your hand from the point of view of the hand, that sensations are freely there
in whatever sensations you feel in your hand are there because of your a lightness, the energy or the vitality of being alive. You can sense the sensations. If you Now open your awareness up to the rest of your body and feel the sensations that appear in your body, maybe you can feel them also is just sensation. Have the moment that exists that in and of themselves for. They themselves are independent of your preferences.
sensations are live independent of your identity. They're just their sensations of the body. In a certain certain way, the sensations are free, free of the desires and aversions you might have. They're just there
and they're there because of your politeness lightness, your vitality The aliveness of yours, the body's making sensations and the lightness of your awareness.
And then you can open your awareness up to whatever mood or emotional state that you have how you're feeling. And there's a way of feeling that in your body recognizing it is no different than the sensations of your hand. It can just be their emotion mood of the moment. It can it itself can exist without the past and a future.
Mood can exist in a certain In a way, without our preferences, it's just there, felt and experienced. And in and of itself, maybe the mood or the emotion that you have is free is there freely unless you get entangled with it or start thinking about it.
And the emotions that you have your feelings that you have, are there because of your lightness, the vitality of your body being alive right now. vitality and alive in this awareness that knows it.
And then maybe you can expand your awareness, to include the mental activity of thinking and wanting and not wanting. Whatever mental activity is going on. There's a way of experiencing that. That is similar to experiencing the sensations of the body,
allowing each thought to appear and disappear.
It's through memory and projection we connected to past and the future. in and of themselves, thoughts are just an experience of the moment. in and of themselves, they too can be free of our preferences and desires that might be there.
And your thoughts are also an expression of your lightness.
And all these things, your sensations of your body that you were experiencing mood and how you feel right now and how you experience it. Your mind and mental activities and how you're experiencing all the buzzing, active aspect of the saner life
will not be found in this body. The day you die
every way in which you know yourself every way that you experience yourself is a knowing and experience that can only occur in a living body.
Every way you know yourself and experience yourself in the present moment is a manifestation of a lightness.
And then live nets that can only exist in the present moment can only be experienced now
in a likeness that has no past and The future
and alive this that can be free.
Have what you're thinking, what you're wanting and not wanting. And perhaps it's possible to experience your alive pneus through all these things that you know, without being caught up in the content, I think concerned so much about what you're experiencing but just the fact that you're experiencing
it's all the particular manifestation of Europe. likeness right now.
And then what do you think? It would be like to look at the world through your eyes with a clear sense the unique alive pneus of this moment now alive ness that's here now
Say offer some apologies that took you along on a journey that you didn't sign up for. So hopefully it was okay. And I spent a good part of yesterday reflecting in this kind of way that I offered you today. So that's kind of want to share with you. And the reason for that or the condition for that is a Friday, I spent time at a an anatomy lab at a local community college with three cadaver And it's quite something to contemplate death contemplate life and death in a room with cadavers, and it's a long Buddhist tradition of contemplating death. And in Thailand, practitioners will often go to morgues or anatomy labs or different places in order to directly have contact with death. And, you know, many people have had experience of being with someone who's died, but usually it's someone they know. But to be with someone that you don't know, in an anatomy lab and bodies or in, you know, surgically opened up and you can kind of looking deep into the body and see different parts of the body and kind of It's very kind of thought provoking is the right word. But it's certainly very poignant. It's very powerful. It's very much, you know, now we're here. And it became so acutely clear that in the bodies that we saw that people had been, I think some of them had been breathing and walking and probably talking a year ago. Some of them are died a little bit longer, maybe two, three years ago. And, and you know, what a different experience is to experience a body that that has no aliveness in it. That's not going to experience you know, you know, I touched some of the bodies gently, didn't want to hurt them. touch them. I do. They want to be disrespectful, that's more honest. You know, touch them gently. But you know that And including some are the organs were open and there the anatomist would take the organs out of the body and talk about them and show them how they were can. And there was one gentleman who had a pacemaker and, and that was fascinating to kind of see all the you know, remnants of the pacemaker in the heart and different things and but, you know, we were touching and looking and talking and there was no that body was not hearing or feeling or experiencing or thinking about what we are doing. And this world of what we are experiences, you know, that we can so easily take for granted because it's been we've been doing for our lifetime is sensing and feeling and thinking and things like that. But it's, you know, every single way in which we experience ourselves we know ourselves is only known because we Alive one way or the other? And what is it to be alive? What is it alive? This that comes through our sensations? Or and through the experience of our sensations? What is the sense of aliveness, vitality animation that comes through? When we have feelings and emotions, regardless of what they are? Is there some way of relating to these things, all these things, not so much by the content, or the meaning of them, or our preferences of them, but to relate to them as simply as the lightness that's coursing through us that whatever lightness is, the anatomist talked about the electrical system of the human body. You know, we're in it we create our own electricity and you know, in order to make this whole thing work, and you know, I mean, that electrical system goes then There's no more experiencing.
And as I was kind of spent yesterday kind of reflecting on living with this, it kind of brought me very acutely into my lived experience of the day. And I could feel so well, how much that lived experience of body sensations and moods, emotions and thoughts. Really, there was a freedom there. There was a way in which they were all free of preferences for you of my desires and aversions. And there's a way in which they just come. And there's a way in which I overlay projections, I overlay ideas, I weave them together with stories and images and stories of the past in the future and weave them together with identity, who I am and how I'm seeing and all kinds of things that are but in and of themselves, simplicity of that experience. is really doesn't have all those overlays of projections and ideas. Just sensations when I was sitting with feeling my hand in the exercise, I don't know if you could feel it, but I could feel the very gentle breeze against my hand, a little coolness. That little coolness. The breeze was, you know, there's no self and that sensation a breeze, that tingling in the coolness. I can't say that, that skill. I'm not making it. I'm not preferring it or desperate for you to just, they're free of me. It's a part of me the sensations of the coolness, but it's free of me. All the sensations in my hand are there. They're part of me, but they're also free of me at the same time. All the emotions and feelings you have are part of you. But there's a way of seeing them. They're also free of you. Maybe you're free of them, and all the thoughts you have. There's a way of seeing them that yes. They're part of you, maybe, but they're also free of you. And so and that's what I wanted to highlight today was this idea how all these things, the all the things, which are the symptoms, the manifestation of our likeness, can be experienced as being free of us as being free of our desires and preferences. There's actually freedom in hearing a sound that's available there, there's freedom and having a sensation of a body even a painful one. I've had painful body sensations lately. And so it was it kind of interesting to kind of just let them be there and, and experience their freedom as opposed to experiencing not really the sensations but experiencing my preferences, my concerns, my ideas, my projections into the future, you know, because you can get very complicated world right very quickly, but just the sensations by themselves. That's manifestation of the lightness and the knowing that this part of that a lightness, where's the freedom there. And then to kind of look out into the world, and see the world, through the lens of not through the lens of me, myself and mine, what I want what I'm trying to do with this, what's in it for me? But what about seeing in the world with the same kind of freedom, that all the things we see are also in a certain way free of us, free of ourselves. Maybe they're part of us, like the whole everyone's part of us. At the same time, we're free and they're free. And what is that way of experiencing something as being free? What is freedom? What is it to dwell in this world, where we're not entangled or cut up or contracted or enslaved or ugly gates are compulsory to be a certain way. What is this kind of way of just letting it be there like your sensations in your hand? What is it to go into your body and experiences a lightness and freedom? And then they come out with a feeling or understanding of what freedom is. Quickly Will you give up your freedom? Or to make it a little bit more palpable to you or understandable to some of you? What is it to go into your meditation and get calm? And then come out of it calm? And then how quickly do you give up your calm? Why do you do that? No, have you ever thought about why you give it up? The world made me I had a really important obligations and responsibilities and and if I stay to calm people wouldn't think that I cared. I have to show that I'm in And doing things.
So it's one thing to do that exercise with calm, but what about freedom? To what degree do we discover freedom? When we go in to the body? What is it to go in, settle into the body experiencing the lightness, the presence, the immediacy of life now, I mean boy to be alive. I hope you think it's special. That you get this short little blink of time. In the scale of, you know, cosmic time. It's possible this is the only it'll blink you have to know what you know, to experience the gift of life of lightness. And what is it? Are we too busy surfing the web to, to really kind of be in awe. To be amazed, or more importantly, to live in this lived, lived experience and be free And freedom is, I think one of the most respectful things we can do for the gift of life. Because freedom is kind of getting out of the way, and allowing who we are allowing our likeness, to be unimpeded, unimpeded, to allow our view of the world to be unimpeded, and let the specialness of that experience of seeing the world hearing the world. We say there's a world out there that we see. You know, this body that you have, when you die, these eyes are not going to see the world out there. You see the world out there because those of you who have eyesight because you have eyesight, and eyesight is a part of the alive pneus of the moment. What is it to appreciate your contribution to seeing the world you're alive? Yes, you're the spark of something that's here. And what To look out across the world, and see it in a way that's free, to be free. So that was there, my contemplation, spending this time with the cadavers, he's very generous people, we were introduced to them before we went to see them, as these are people whose through the generosity had chosen to give their bodies for the purpose of education, and people who are being trained to care for people medically, we're being trained through those bodies. And, you know, and, you know, everyone benefits from that kind of system. And and then, on top of it, what you know, I don't know what you think of hearing that I spent time with cadavers. What do you think of that? Part of the context was that the person who the anatomist who took us through was full of kind of a contagious joy and love and care for us that cadavers for life itself was just kind of like, half the reason to go to the lab was to be with her. And imagine, you know, spending of 20 years in a anatomy lab with cadavers. And coming out of that just filled brimming with joy and smiles and love and and he's quite something, maybe there's something about that contact with that. That highlights something precious highlights freedom highlights some kind of contact of life that's not caught up in our dramas and our concern, Petty concerns or desires or all the different things that you know, we get caught in and get narrowed down and limit us. So I'll end this Talk with a question. That may be you ask yourself through this next week, it'd be very satisfying if you asked me that you asked this question of yourself a lot. Which is, what is it to be free right now? Where's the freedom now? With this wherever you go, where's the freedom now? And I'd like to suggest that part of that answer is found or maybe all the answer is found in your likeness. And how you experience your likeness in the present moment right here right now and that in and to experience that freedom I'm pretty confident that you'll be a better world and a better person, this world.
You'll be here to support the world, you'll be able to take care of the world much better. So we engage in the world through one perspective, one way to participate in the world one way. And then through Buddhist practice, we go into the body, settle in body experience the body so that we can come out to participate in a new way. And what is it to participate in the world free in the free way? That's the question. So that's the topic that was the talk. So I think we have quite a bit of time before that 1045 time. I think that I would like to assume they probably safer to assume that do this exercise and have me talk this way in a bulk your likeness and endeavors is kind Big deal for some of you. And then a wonderful way to, to integrate that or to kind of work through it a little bit is, is to actually talk to someone else briefly about just something about how it was like for you to have been here today and experienced this and maybe that'll free you a little bit also the talk. And so if you don't mind, if you don't mind us turning to someone and just checking in saying hello and saying something and it doesn't have to be something very private or difficult. Just something and then continue if you want or we can go