2021-08-04-Delusion (3 of 5) Practicing with Delusion
2:55PM Aug 4, 2021
elementary school teacher
So, the topic of today, the third talk on delusion, is practicing with delusion. And it can be hard because sometimes part of the nature of delusion is to not know that were diluted and to not know, the delusion kind of camouflage itself as true, or as, this is the way things are or. And so it can be hard to notice the illusion. But it's possible to see delusion for for it's what it is, is possible to become free of delusion. And it's a really worthwhile goal, because so much of the suffering of the world has some quality of suffering and, and harming how we cause harm in the world has some connection to delusion. So
So first, it's helpful to have some wisdom, that is the antidote to delusion. There's many pieces of wisdom that are useful. And one of them is there's a I learned this as a Sufi story. The man came to a Sufi master with a ring and said, Could you inscribe in this ring, some piece of wisdom that's always useful for me. And, and so, a week later, the men came back to get the inscribed ring. And it said, this too, will pass. And so that's simple expression, this too will pass, can cut somehow cut through a certain delusion of permanence or, or expectation that it should be always this way, or it will be this way, and it can free up. One of my favorite little stories about to bringing wisdom is I heard this story is coming from China. And the way that approximately the story is told it can be many little variations is there was a farmer who was quite old and frail and can barely eke out an existence on his farm. But he had us a son, a strong young man, who could certainly help a lot. They were still very poor, but it does young son couldn't do a lot of the work. And, and they had an old donkey, that weak donkey that somehow was their main way of plowing and taking care of the farm also. And one day the donkey died. And the neighbor said, Oh, this is terrible. I'm so sorry. You know, this is a terrible thing. The and you're so poor, and the old farmer says, We shall see. And then one day, the son goes up into the mountains to collect firewood, and he finds a kind of a wild horse up there that's strong and stallion and, and is able to bring it back. And the neighbors say, Oh, you're so lucky. And the old man says, We shall see. And as the son is training the horse, he falls off the horse and breaks his leg. And the neighbors say, Oh, no, you're so unlucky. And the farmer says we shall see. And, and then the local King recruits all the young men to go fight the hopeless war against a neighboring country. And but because the son broke his leg, he's not recruited. And the neighbors say, Oh, you're so lucky that your Assad is not going off to war. And the farmer Of course, says, We shall see. And so there's a wisdom to we shall see not to be caught and the conclusions we can make, and, and think that this is the way it is. So bringing some wisdom, there's so many kinds of wisdom we can bring. But wisdom and understanding like that only goes so deep. It's a nice medicine, it's a nice counter force to our tendency to delusion. But the past into practice, involves a deeper look at it. And I think of Vipassana practice in relationship to delusion is a little bit of a practice for people who are well established in their mindfulness, because and so just developing mindfulness is an antidote to delusion. Because as we develop the capacity to recognize moment by moment what's happening, so we can recognize, oh, this is an emotion. I'm feeling sad or happy or angry or peaceful. There's there's a freeing moment and that clear recognition and, and we're not entangled so much And so the all the different beliefs and ideas we have that entangle us are kind of put down. And that's a little protection from the delusion, delusive ways in which we're involved in our emotions and feelings. Same thing with the thoughts as we learn to recognize were thinking, there's a simple label thinking, thinking, or remembering or planning, that also that clear recognition begins freeing us from the automatic way in which associations beliefs, expectations, prejudice bias, come, you know, are, are, are involved in how we relate to our thoughts, the quick ways that we believe that we're horrified by them, or whatever it might be the compelling way, we feel like we have to think we, you know, it's necessary to think, and just thinking or thinking, thinking, it's such a peaceful thing to do, but it can be so freeing. As we begin finding this freedom, and simplicity and strength and mindfulness, then it comes a time when
we're able to better and better notice the arising the beginning of a particular idea. And because we can see it arise, we're not kind of just lost in the sea of thoughts. We're not just kind of being swept along in the great currents of many thoughts. But we see the birth of a thought, that is a fantastic place where we could question at what we say is that, so? Maybe not, or let's see, or we can see, you know, oh, that is a thought. It just a thought is not necessarily true, it's not necessarily the reality. And so for example, if you see a person a stranger, and, and somehow that stranger reminds you of this really strict, elementary school teacher you had who you were really afraid of, and the person looks like the teacher. And so the thought comes up, the feeling emotion comes up and thought comes up, that, Oh, this is a dangerous person. If we're not, if we're kind of just going along, and not noticing where these thoughts come from, and they just suddenly are there, it's easy for the mind to somehow just assume this is true. And take it as being a true idea what's out there, that person is dangerous. But if we can notice, oh, there's, oh, that person is dangerous, that thought arises, and we see it just as a thought, then it's a powerful moment, to both question the thought, is it true? but also to take a second look, to look again? What is really there in front of me? Who is this person? I don't know who this person is? It looks like my, my elementary school teacher? Let me take a good look. And in fact, the person Don't you know that I look carefully at the person, the person seems quite friendly. And, and so, but being able to see their rising of it, we can question we can see, we can not assign so much authority to every thought. And we're more likely to question in a healthy way, what's there. As we begin looking at these thoughts that arise, we begin recognizing some of them are regular patterns of, of the same kind of thinking. And the when when when people practice mindfulness a lot, they start seeing patterns of thoughts, like their their pattern is that they always think the worst is going to happen. Or they always think that people don't like them. Or they always think that they're all you know, that they should get what they want me to know all kinds of ideas like that. And when we start seeing patterns, then it started realizing Wait a minute, this is just a belief I carry. And to always apply this belief on to all situations. It is a kind of delusion, it's a it's an imposition of ideas on something which is not necessarily appropriate those ideas. And so then we can start looking at the pattern to others that's in the has a quality to delusion to always be seeing through that filter. And then we can use our mindfulness to look deeper and see what's underneath that. What is the emotion that's driving that? Is there a loneliness there's a insecurities or fear? Is there some kind of delusion of grandeur or wanting to kind of create a sense of self that is a little bit of a fantasy. And it can be some desires, we have some thoughts we have come from this fantastical way in which we want to kind of create the idea of who we are that is all good or we create ideas about ourself that are critical of ourselves. And so once we start seeing the patterns of thinking and delusion we have, we can start dropping down deeper into the emotional level and the places we that are the sources within, for why or how we think this way, not by analyzing it, but we feel our way in. So practicing mindfulness of thinking, in a deeper and deeper way, connects us to the sources underneath where delusion is born. And, and this also then gives more freedom and the chance for something to resolve itself for release in a deeper and deeper way. Most illusions that we have, have their Genesis and some clinging, something we're attached to. And delusions without attachment, generally are not as dangerous as delusions that we're very attached to them.
So there's a lot of words about how to practice with delusion. But the simplest way is, is to learn how to be mindful in the present moment. And to be able to track this flow of present moment, fi experiences we're having. So that in that flow of present moment experiences, we see that there's the arising of feeling sensation, now there's a thought, and to have a settled mind, that can watch this arising of thinking, and then bring some wisdom to it. And maybe one of them is maybe not, maybe it's not this way, or we shall see, we shall see, let's wait, let's come to some conclusion. And so to learn how to have thoughts arise, and not take them as being conclusive, is a powerful way of popping the bubble of delusion. Because the danger of delusion is often at the authority we give them. And if we don't give them authority, it's easier to kind of see them for what they are. So practice mindfulness, it's such a great thing. And, and if you feel like practicing mindfulness is too much work. It's really, it's not, in essence, not really work. It's rather trusting that we can rest and be present. For the deep capacity we have to be open, present and aware of what is happening in the present without just open and present awareness. And we discover over time, that this is the place of non work, in a sense, that everything else is just a lot of work a lot of agitation and stress in the mind. So enjoy your mindfulness, develop it and let it become an intimate part of who you are. Thank you