2020-06-04: Seven Factors of Awakening: Joy
10:35PM Jun 5, 2020
Good day greetings. And this is now the fourth talk on the seven factors of awakening. The seven factors of awakening are paired to kind of an opposition or pair between the five hindrances and the seven factors of awakening. That in between those two, in the teachings of the Buddha, is the four foundations of mindfulness. And the four foundations of mindfulness are how we go from being caught up in the five hindrances to experiencing the seven factors of awakening, the practice of mindfulness. The seven factors of awakening the word in Pali, the five hindrances for them is nīvarana and nīvarana literally means a covering. So rather than hindering something, they cover over something. They cover over our capacity for wisdom, they cover over capacity for concentration and settleness, for appreciating this world in a deep way. And as mindfulness develops, it begins to uncover, remove that covering. And as the coverings get taken off, then it's kind of like the covers being taken off a light bulb, the light bulb goes on, but there's a heavy blanket over it doesn't light up the room. But as we take off the covers, then the light shines. And so the seven factors of awakening are what shine, come forth, as the covering of preoccupation. And the five hindrances are the ways that matter gets so preoccupied in things that it kind of shuts down a clear awareness of the present moment. It's kind of like the seven factors awakenings are, can be so strong that they distract us from the fact that we're distracted. Distraction so strong that we're distracted from the fact that we're distracted. First, what happens as we develop mindfulness, first we know we're distracted. That's a huge positive step. Rather than being discouraged when you finally know you're distracted. Actually, this is actually on the path of waking up, of uncovering. Uncovering the fact that we're distracted. And so this fourth factor of awakening is joy. And, as I talked about yesterday about the effort factor there are two kind of components of joy that arises in practice. One is the joy that gets released in the body as we keep opening and relaxing and softening and being present. And so we can actually feel this suffusing joy, the ancient languages when it's a fusion, and, it's understood to be a joy which is refreshing, has a deep satisfying feeling. And so you can actually feel that well up in the body. The, the other kind of quality of Joy has to do with a certain kind of joy, delight, contentment, happiness that comes with how we're aware. The fact that we are meeting we are showing up, that we're really here for experience. And that second kind of joy is particularly important because oftentimes we don't feel joy in life and joy in our body. There's pain and suffering in ourselves and the world around us. And, but to show up for that, and really be present for it and experience it clearly, cleanly. There's a rightness to that. I don't know perhaps the word joy should not be applied to situations how we feel and situations that are great of great suffering or difficulty in the world, for example, in friends and family and society. But there is a kind of feeling, there is a maybe ought to find your own kind of words for this rather than taking my words, but a kind of feeling of rightness. That Yes, I'm here for this. This feels. If it's happening, it feels right to be here.
There's a very clean feeling of letting it come in course through us, that can happen if we don't close down or react or contract. It, it's more like we keep opening to the suffering, respectfully, wisely. But still, in that opening and allowing it, there's a feeling of rightness, of goodness. And may I dare say even a kind of joy or satisfaction, to feel that openness with even things that are difficult. So this capacity of these two kinds of joy come into play as we keep practicing. So first, we have to be here. And this mindfulness practice is to really learn how to really embody the present moment, really inhabit the present moment with awareness, all the attentional faculties we have, not so much by working, but by certainly developing capacity and interest in motivation to be present, but also to learn to relax to the presence, settle in here. And I find it very significant for me personally, that the lived experience is only here for this moment. That if I'm lost in the past, in the future, I've lost touch with the only thing that really exists in a certain way for in the world of experience, and that is the lived experience of the moment. And to learn to trust that and inhabit that, and not miss the opportunity to be alive, not miss the opportunity to experience ourselves as conscious beings in the present moment here. And then to have this curiosity, interest, what is here, and in order to see it more clearly, to recognize it more clearly. And as we recognize what's happening more clearly we make distinctions. We see things in the particularity of them, the detail of them. And so we do what and we see. And what we see is we see there are distinctions and differences between things. And we can start choosing both that this, this is where I want to be. This is where attention is. This is where how I'm going to pay attention. And so this ability to choose to recognize that there's a way of being, a way of attending a way of things to attend to, that the system we have, wants to pay attention to, wants to connect to. Or the where it feels right to be present for, right this to it. And it's not so much a matter of working or doing something new. But in seeing clearly what's going on. Recognizing where the path is, recognizing where the rightness is, recognize this is the place to be. This being with the breath, this way of being with a breath. So it may get when when all those things begin kind of settling in to some degree. Then the word that I associate with the joy factor of awakening is the word Yes. It is a saying yes to the experience. This is about being being with it. And yes is yes, we open to this. Yes, this is it. And in fact, it's possible to have that the Yes with pain. Now, pain itself is a drag, in a certain kind of way. But there's also the way we meet the pain. Yes. I'll open to it. Yes. I'll be here with this. Yes, I'll be here with this person. Yes, I'll be here with a food that I eat. Yes, I'm going to really be here for the experience of washing dishes or cleaning the kitchen floor. Yes. Here I am now here being with a breathing and meditation. Yes. And so this meeting and connecting and thing, yes and be it and that yes carries. For me it's kind of some modicum of idea of joy, delight, appreciation, of in that opening, in that giving myself to that experience more fully.
And so the joy factor begins to arise. And some of it has to do with being able to give ourselves over fully, completely to the experience of the moment. Some people have the experience of reading a wonderful book, and it's the joy of being absorbed, absorbed in reading the book, or absorbed in some hobby or craft that we're doing or some work we're doing. That really it's the is the unification, the harmony, the non distractedness, the non fragmentation, or the mind jumping around doing many different things, of just fully being present for one thing. There's something about the harmony of doing that, that all this physiologically, psychologically, maybe even biochemically, neurologically, that the coming together and being smooth and being working together and kind of all the, you know, the kinks or the roughness of the surface has been smoothed out, and we can collide and smooth, it's to kind of flow with the experience. Sometimes I liken it to when it really becomes strong, this joy, this delight of really being here. To me it feels like how I felt sometimes when I've gone body surfing and that caught the wave. And then caving carried by the wave. It's a wonderful way, being caught by the breath, caught by the present moment and being surfing along just as an exhilarating feeling little bit here. And so it's not so much we make ourselves feel that. But we give ourselves a yes over to one thing. And this ability to really be collected on one thing, one breath, one experience, one present moment, here for there's just this present moment, not present moments in other places, not present moments in other times, but this place this time, and just yes to fully for this. And that's a process to do that. Certainly takes time. And I certainly didn't experience the kind of meditative joy for a long time and didn't you know I was, but the process of getting there, ofbeing here over and over again, of seeing more clearly that comes with a what. Of being able to know this that we pay attention to, this that's important right now. Not that this of fantasy, not that this of criticism and preoccupation, but the this of the body being this of breathing, this of an awareness which is with the present moment, that this of an awareness which is not in conflict with what is, but is open to what is and then to give ourselves fully to something with the word Yes, yes. This is what we're doing. This is where we're here we are, yes, with this kind of attention. Yes, to a kind of silence, which is luminous silence, which is clear, a stillness that allows us to really be fully here for this experience. And then I hope that the degree to which we are able to put aside our preoccupations, our concerns when we sit to meditate. And we start settling into this deeper capacity for well being that's here. That as we come out of meditation and go into our world, that we translate that, we apply that, to the world around us, so that we have a clear sense that our meditation practice is not just for ourselves, but it's also for the welfare and happiness of all beings. May our joy be contagious. Thank you.