2022-12-21-Gil-Right Effort (3 of 5) Emergence of the Wholesome
8:43AM Dec 24, 2022
Hello, everyone this Solstice day. The topic this week is right effort. And today we turn towards the effort to Allah allow the wholesome to emerge. So there's a classically in Buddhism, there's a dichotomy, the division between those mental states, motivations, thoughts, activities, just about anything. That is afflictive. And that which is beneficial. And in this dichotomy, what's might be in the middle that's neither afflictive or beneficial, is not really addressed, not really talked about, not because there's maybe a radical duality between these two. But the neutral is not the spiritually so meaningful, so important to focus on it's has a place it is what it is. But in terms of the training and the growth and development that Buddhism is about, it's not particularly relevant. It would be like something like. I mean, I don't know what an example would be. But if someone is training for a bicycle race, there are things that they do that could undermine their training and things that can support it. And then there's things that can happen that do neither. That it's just simply something that's happening. And so for example, if you, I don't know, maybe if the person just likes to read about the score in football, football scores and standings, it might be a neutral idea pleasant to do might be nice if person likes that. But it turns with a training for the bicycle race, it's neither here nor there. So the Buddhism has this dichotomy between the wholesome and the unwholesome, and the unwholesome is afflictive. And the wholesome is beneficial. And what it implies is that or what it indicates is that there are beneficial states of mind movements of mind, heart, that can live within us that are beneficial, that are good and useful. And so we want to enable that or evoke those or allow room for those. And that these are important. And if Buddhism is not just about abandoning and letting go and renouncing the abandoning of Buddhism, that letting go is that the Buddha talked about it. As he's very seldom talks about letting go of things. It's always an inner world of you're letting go of clinging to things, attachment, craving, that things that we're caught in. So we don't have to necessarily let go of things of the world. Wisdom might tell us to do that. Compassion might tell us to do that. But in terms of the dharma, the we're we're letting go of his, the inner the clinging the attachments in the mind. But that's not all we're supposed to do. Sometimes people kind of pick up some simple idea, Buddhism, and think, oh, this Buddhism is all about letting go. But in fact, the that's important, that's part of the four right efforts. But equally important, is the cultivation or the allowance the development of beneficial states, wholesome states, skillful states. And there's a lot of them. The ones that are closely associated with mindfulness practice, are the seven factors of awakening. So things like mindfulness and investigation, effort endeavoring, again, joy, tranquility, concentration, equanimity. Elsewhere, happiness is important. Patience, wisdom. states of mind that are expansive have open, peaceful, boundless loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, there's a whole slew of them. And there's so many that the mind can go dizzy with, like, wow, I have to I have to get busy here and do so much. But it isn't so much that we have to do them all and all at once. There's another art here. And it's not necessarily the art of making and doing, but the allowing. And the, the language is usually translated into English as the arising when, when makes room for when make space for what puts energy into the arising. And of wholesome states, the language of rising, I sometimes like to, rather than calling a rising, call it emergence. And why I like the emergence is that it doesn't imply that we're the doer, we're the maker of it. But rather, there's something within us that wants to be born. Something that has the capacity of emerging coming out. And our job is to make space for that emergence to allow for that. And the reason I trust this so much, is that I've the afflictive emotions and states of mind, I associate more with a surface reactivity, it's, it's the world of reactions to what's happening in the world and how it impacts us and how it impacts our attachments in our fears. And as deep as that goes, can feel take they are, they still have to do with this interactive world, it's more on the surface, the emergent world comes from some a different place within. And it's a, and it's something that can well up as opposed to React, React to. And so we don't have to have anything in particular happening in the world that triggers us triggers that beneficial, it's more likely get settled and make room for it. And this is a remarkable thing to discover in meditation, that the more peaceful we become more quiet and calm we become, the more we have this kind of sense of not knowing just willing just to be here in our experience, and make room for then then the beneficial kind of begins to flow and come out. It's not intentional. But it's more something that the intention is to make room for it to allow for it to be with it. And so it can seem a little bit passive, it can be kind of a little bit magical thinking to think of you sit there and go, I'm just going to sit here and do nothing. And something will emerge this wonderful. Maybe that's little like you know, just you know, a little too passive. The language of right effort is kind of dramatic. And powerful, I would say. So here's the classic description of the third right effort. Practitioners take up. And so this is my own translation. So if you look it up somewhere else you'll find a little bit different, are quite different. Practitioners take up and take hold of their minds. So that take up and take hold of their minds. It doesn't mean you know, grab on and it means that they enter into the world of their minds there. They have their the thinking mind and the reactive mind doesn't have us. We are there for our mind. There's a kind of freedom there who's in control the mind or you in a certain kind of way in this practice you are and the machinations of the mind, don't have us don't grab us by the nose and pull us around. So another way of saying this is to really be present in a full way. Take up and abide in the heart, think up and take hold of their minds and generate desire and then endeavor and initiate courageous effort for the arising of wholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. So generate desire to have some desire for wholesome states. That is a good thing. And initiate courageous effort. viriya
not to make space for it but trust it's okay to have it. There are times where They're having this kind of open experience of presence and attentiveness and, and awareness to the world, in an open way, feels very vulnerable and very scary. To be able to feel the depth of what's going on for us, we have to go through layers of things which are difficult. And so the keep opening and being okay this to this to stay with. And this courageous effort to not believe that thoughts in the mind that you have to fix and do and react and blame. But this courageous effort to really be present in a simple, relaxed way here, putting aside all the other things, to allow something to emerge. And first, likewise, might avert merges, grief and sadness and anger that's been long, unresolved, but trusting just opening opening, and seeing what wants to emerge. And the courageous effort has to keep getting out of the way for that. And, and this idea of not knowing can be a way to get out of the way to allow something to begin to come. And this not knowing this emergence seems to work best when we're most settled, most calm, most peaceful, it doesn't work so well, if we're caught up in our reactive world, it's kind of a self perpetuating world of samsāra. And, and so to drop down to quiet down, or to be paused long enough to have this not knowing this availability, for something here to emerge. And when you make room when you take the time, to stop the running, the running of the mind, the running of the body, or running around doing things, if you take the time, to pause, sacred pause, to feel and be available, what is here what wants to emerge? What wants to be born, even in times of great crisis, unless there's a danger, but great challenges. become quiet enough to ask the question, what here wants to be born in the middle, the center of it all what wants to emerge? And as things emerge, that are wholesome, that are beneficial, that are nourishing, that are nutritious for the heart, allow for them, let them come. So a lot of this third, right effort is not making something happen. But rather availing ourselves of what's already here. I'd like to propose to you that you have more beneficial states, going on all the time available to you that if you pause or make room or quiet down just a moment, you'll start feeling that things are good. There's reasons for joy. There's reasons for happiness, there's reasons for kindness, for love. There's reasons for curiosity and interested in delightful nourishing way, what's here, as opposed to own know this again, if avail yourself so more than more, rather than making yourself a certain way that's wholesome. See if you can kind of pause and make space and avail yourself of the wholesome that's already here and available. No matter how small it is, no matter that it's accompanied by unwholesomeness. Don't give the unwholesome a lot of authority that it takes you and grabs you and pulls you around, or you have to kind of listen to it or obey it. Avail yourself of the wholesome that's here. And if you don't have it for yourself, then borrow it from others. If you can be with people or somehow have connection with someone or even if it's, you know, on the web, sometimes, you know, put yourself in the presence of people who you feel are emanating something wholesome. And then kind of borrowed from them. So you can avail yourself of it and begin begin exploring exploring the world of the emergence of the wholesome. So that would be the homework for today is making Self available for the wholesome. So it's not so much it's not making it but seeing making space for it and make be available for it to be there. And if you're only running around, then there's no space. No possibility. So thank you and look forward to our time tomorrow.