2022-10-10 Conditioned Consciousness (1 of 5) Aggitation:Calm
1:02PM Oct 11, 2022
So this will be the first talk in a series following last week's on consciousness, where I'll attempt to talk about how different factors of the Mind Mind activities can affect the quality or the characteristics of consciousness, how we are aware of being conscious. And if overall, if the purpose of these talks don't quite work for you, don't worry too much about it to the I think what I'll be teaching about will have other value, in addition. So what I'd like to do is to set up the idea of contrasts, that different contrasts of different mind states will have different effects on how we feel aware how we have a sense of what the unconscious is, and to the degree to which we have a sense of being of consciousness, that that sense of consciousness can be affected by these different contrasting mind states. And so for today, the talk is about agitation, and calm. Agitation is, can be course, and many people associate meditation with becoming calm. And but one of the not known recognize is that, as we become calmer, and meditation, we start uncovering deeper and deeper layers of agitation, may be quieter, and more subtle layers of it, that they are invisible to us in the ordinary states of mind. That as we go, and in fact, some of the places that we feel, recognize the deeper, very subtle agitation is, in contrast to ordinary states of mind when we're agitated, it might seem like a calm state. But when we're deeply calm, we still see there's a little bit of agitation, that tension pressure. So learning to recognize the contrast between calm and agitation, learning to be accepting of agitation, so that we can be aware of it carefully and fully is important part of this path to freedom. And to emphasize this, part of the classic teachings of Buddhism, is that agitation sometimes is explicitly that word. Sometimes restlessness is that word that used are the last attachment, the last hindrance last piece of, of dukkha, ouch, suffering, that remains before a person becomes fully liberated. In fact, you have to be fully liberated to let go of the last vestiges of restlessness and agitation. And so if you have some agitation in your meditation, then certainly means you're not fully awakened. But it also means that you're human. And this is part of parcel of being human that we're working with and becoming wise about how to be with agitation. The CIO and calm can set it in all kinds of different stages of meditation, or with all kinds of kind of qualities of it. There can be the first really palpable and impactful experience of calm that I experienced. These things are kind of in my spiritual life, especially before I kind of was interested in spirituality was when I was 18. And I went into a little chapel Catholic chapel in France. And, and this immediately this calm descended in the cool kind of ancient ancient Chapel was stone walls. And there was something about the cool, clear, crisp air, the history of the Chapo may be the atmosphere, there are the associations I had with it, who knows. But I felt this calm, settle into my body that was just found so stunning, and I kind of stayed lingering with it for a long time.
And then I found myself being agitated in rush hour traffic here in the Bay Area freeways and then decided, Well, I'm here for a while, and I have better things to do than be agitated. And then finding some simple modicum of calm to settle into I just settle on the chair the seat in the car and and be still and look around the other drivers wish them well. And nothing that dramatic, nothing that I would want to linger in or, or feel that was, you know, something spiritual. But it was what was available and content with that part of the advantage of calm in the path of liberation is that as we become calmer, we're able to see more clearly, as we become calmer, we have access to more wisdom and, and skillfulness and understanding of where to go from here, including how to not feed the agitation, how not to get agitated, because we're agitated, but rather to support to nourish that calm to feed the calm is the language of the Buddha, the nourishment, and he says nourishment for calm, is calm. So if you don't have any karmic half, nourish yourself with it, but if the if you recognize some degree of calm within even a small degree, then that calm can, as the food for becoming more calm. And the same way, agitation is the food for more agitation. So to be able to see the contrast between calm and agitation gives us the wisdom, to know which one to attend to the most, not to ignore the agitation, but to learn to attend to the calm enough, that we can be calm ly aware of the agitation, and that way, we're not feeding the agitation. And each of these calm and agitation has a different effect on how we experienced consciousness, how we experienced being aware that agitation can make the the awareness agitated, it can, agitation is a kind of a movement, that feels uncomfortable. And so it's localized, you can feel a certain place, and it tends to ground or settle or, or gather or kind of tie consciousness to a bounded smaller, tighter place within. And sometimes it's so agitated, it's really hard to even know we're aware to be, you know, to tune into what consciousness like when we're agitated as impossible. It's almost like it's absent. But as we become calm, calm, can have a location in the body. But it tends to be have soft boundaries, it tends to be not moving and jumping around so much, and attends to kind of heavy smooth or relaxed or porous boundaries, it spreads out through the body. And sometimes calm, especially mental calm, can feel the same way that it just has no boundaries. So much so that the calm can feel like it's in the room, even though the room conventionally is agitated. Because our calm is so strong, it kind of spills over into our sense or feeling of the room of least least how we're aware of the room, the awareness that is there. And, and so one of the most precious resources we have is our capacity for attention for awareness, of being conscious. And this amazingly precious resource, basically precious kind of treasure that we have. Its characteristics and its availability, and its its way in which supports us can vary a lot depending on how agitated we are or calm we are. And one of the things that you might consider doing today, next 24 hours is over two things. One is just become attuned to the presence of agitation and calm. And just that attunement, that recognition of them might be enough, you don't have to fix anything, but just what happens when you see it clearly. You might find yourself shifting, even unintentionally, in a positive direction, by that clear awareness of it. And then, if you can be calmly aware of your agitation, what happens then? What shifts then,
and I'm not going to suggest that you become aware of the calm in an agitated way. But that if you did that, that would have a different kind of effect. But then also, second thing to do is to be aware of what kind of see if you can notice what is your sense of being conscious like being aware like, at times you're more agitated, and at times that you're more calm, does your sense of what awareness is or its location or its qualities or characteristics, shift and change, depending on the you know where you are on the agitation comm spectrum. And so finally, I'll say that the deeper we go in this exploration of calm and agitation, one of the things we can discover is a lot of the agitation that we can experience is connected to our idea of self, our idea of me myself in mind, and, and that's one of the ways to get a handle on or to put a big question mark next to our education, not to make it as such a reified thing. But to realize that what's agitated is our sense of idea of self. And that as we get calmer, our idea of self shifts and changes as well. And the relationship between consciousness and self is one of these fascinating kinds of things to discover. And so, one saying we could say, to assert the self is to be agitated. To forget the self is to be calm and wise. To assert yourself is to be agitated and foolish. To forget the self is to be calm and wise. So thank you very much, and I hope your exploration of calm and agitation makes you wiser.