2022-04-22 Satipaṭṭhāna (61) Equanimity Factor of Awakening
9:51PM Apr 22, 2022
Hello, everyone. We come to the end of the five part series on The Seven Factors of Awakening. This is the second to last exercise in The Discourse for Establishing Awareness.
The Seven Factors of Awakening are the foundation for the last exercise. This is to have a deep, penetrating insight, to see in a liberating way, and awaken the way that awakens. That is one of the reasons The Seven Factors of Awakening are called Factors of Awakening. They set the stage for awakening, for freedom. They also are qualities of that awakening itself. It is a beautiful thing that we are growing in the qualities that will be mature with our awakening.
I still want to say what I have been saying all week. These factors of awakening are not ordinary mindfulness, investigation, effort, joy, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity – whatever ordinary might mean. They are really the product, the result or the consequence of having really settled in to doing this practice of mindfulness, of awareness. The mindfulness has brought us to a place of stability, of lots of clarity. Our whole being – our body, our mind – has become somewhat unified and collected for the purposes of meditating – of being here.
We are no longer thinking about the events of the day, of yesterday, or what is going to happen. We are not caught up in our fantasies, our resentments, or distracted thought. It is not easy to come to this point, but at some point, we come to this point. We really feel there is a vitality in awareness, a vitality in being present in a full way.
These states, The Seven Factors of Awakening – there are no instructions to cause them to arise, to make them happen. But one recognizes when they are present, and one recognizes when they are not. We also recognize when they arise, they are appearing. Our role is to maintain them, to let them keep developing. A lot of that has to do – at this stage of practice – with getting out of the way. If a ball is rolling down a hill, and you stand in front of it and block it, it will not roll. If you get out of the way, it continues to roll down the hill.
So The Seven Factors of Awakening will keep growing and moving, if we learn to stay out of the way. A lot of that has to do with not getting involved in thoughts, not getting caught up in our thoughts or distracted by thoughts. Not getting involved in wanting and not wanting. Do not tinker with your experience, making it more and more refined and kind of working it, Begin to let go of the doer. Let go of the activity of being the meditator. Just get out of the way and allow something else to emerge, to unfold – these Seven Factors of Awakening.
For that, there has to be some momentum in the practice. This is why, having done the practice for a while – maybe a long time – it becomes like second nature to do it. There is a momentum. The body knows. The body is connected to this practice. We sit down to meditate, and the body gathers itself together because it is familiar with this. It knows this familiar territory and it is like coming home.
As these develop and following Samadhi – concentration, stability, real stability, a unified mind – the tendency of the mind to get fragmented again, to get caught up in any kind of mental or inner state that is arising is diminished. The sense of awareness feels so strong, so precious, so rich in that clarity of being. It seems like it is much better than any of the alternatives – of being in thoughts, distracted, and caught up in things. So we come back to it and stay there.
In that mind there is this wonderful precious, sweetness or beauty to this clarity of mind which is nonreactive. This clarity of mind is not working the practice anymore, not reacting, not fixing or tinkering. There is no doer operating. There is just a clarity of being aware.
That stability, that equanimity, is what allows for there to be deep insight. We do not see through the filter of our projections or agitations – all the concepts, ideas and commentary we have about things. We start seeing, perceiving, or feeling what is happening in a much more direct way. We start having insights into what is happening that is freeing. That is for next week.
A remarkable thing is that these beautiful qualities of being are a byproduct of mindfulness practices. At some point we want to recognize that even the hints of these are beginning to arise. It is the recognition of their presence that is one of the factors that allows them to grow. To recognize it brings more and more clarity of awareness, that is mindfulness.
Recognizing in that clarity, there is a capacity to choose between what is healthy and not healthy, skillful and not skillful. We know how to stay present in a mindful, relaxed, freeing way. Then there is the enthusiasm, the energy which allows the practice to grow. There is the joy of doing it. With that joy, comes a contentment or satisfaction that lets so many of our anxieties settle and quiet down. Then we have concentration and unification of mind, and we have equanimity.
So The Seven Factors of Awakening, mindful of their presence, mindful of their absence, and mindful of when they arise. Then we can get out of the way and maintain them – keep them going. These are what happen at the mature stages of mindfulness.
Do not worry about being in these mature stages. The only thing that is important is this moment, this moment of practice. It is as if you are putting drops into a bucket. Each drop is as valuable as any other drop. Each drop is complete in itself. Each drop of mindfulness, each second, each moment of mindfulness is complete in itself.
Do not be so concerned or caught up with attainments or getting somewhere. When The Seven Factors of Awakening start showing themselves, recognize they are here. Know their presence. Know them as they are arising. Learn the art of maintaining them, getting out of their way, and letting them grow.
So thank you very much.