2023-11-20-Gil-Attitudes (1 of 5) From Desire to Contentment
12:55AM Nov 28, 2023
Good morning, everyone and welcome to this morning are this Monday here in California morning in California. And I feel like in this day in November, just before Thanksgiving, that here in the United States, we kind of turned a corner to a new season. And then with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought it might be nice to spend a week on a beginning of this winter season, focusing on the topic of attitude. There was a time when I taught the introduction to mindfulness meditation, which normally is a five week program, there was a period of time a few years where I did six weeks where one of the weeks was, the fifth week became a focus on mindfulness of attitude. And attitude is very important, because it's the it's the background, or the manner or the lens, by which we see the world understand the world behave in the world. And it's often invisible, because it's kinda like, if you're looking, you're focusing on what you're seeing, it's you might not be paying any attention to the fact that you're straining, oh, or that you're afraid. And you're, you're looking for the dangers or the safety, or that you are thinking that, you know, in order to be have a good time and be safe or be comfortable in yourself, you heard there has to be pleasure. And so we're looking for where is it pleasant, whereas a nice things to do. And so there's an attitude behind or a belief behind how we see how we talk, how we live. And those attitudes can be quite deep, and subconscious and that we don't are not often conscious of them. One that I had, when I started in my meditation practice in monasteries. At some point, I realized that no matter what I was experiencing, the belief, the attitude I have towards all of it was it's not the real thing. So when any any meditation experience anyway, I was like, if I was calm, it wasn't a real calm. If I was present, it wasn't a real way of being present. If I if I was breathing, it wasn't their true way that you're supposed to breathe when you meditate. And I didn't know that I had this belief, it was very, very quiet in the back of the mind. But it it brought a kind of discontent and dissatisfaction and a kind of little bit feeling of inadequacy or that I carried with me and everything I was doing. And I was so grateful to see it. Because once I saw it, I saw this is a little bit ridiculous. And then I tried for a while just to switch the belief to if it's happening to me, it's the real thing. And, and that kind of loosened things up and broke up the the strength of this, this, this attitude that I carried with me for so long. And so, to become aware of attitude, and as we do this week, I would like to say that there are kind of like two categories of attitudes that we have depending on the source within which it comes from. One is an attitude that is from reactivity. And maybe from a certain kind of conceit. And the other arises out of it is maybe a kind of activity, but arises out of a non activity arises out of a deep ability to not always be busy and not be racing around not doing not feel like we have to accomplish something or fix something or understand something. But let something a deep rest happen. So for the two a day, I'd like to suggest that to some one attitude that can be pervasive in some people's lives is desire. That there is always wanting something and and so sometimes there are some people who can want without even having something in mind of what they want it just the habit of wanting the desire to have something. And so they're kind of wherever they go, they're looking for what is it, I might want in this situation, what I want to get, what do I want to do what I want to do or have or receive or is always just wanting of like, and some of it can come from a feeling of lack, feeling of inadequacy feeling of, of scarcity, even. And I spent a period of time in my very early 20s being very poor, and not having enough food. And for a while after that period, I became kind of a little bit neurotic eater, I just like just always looking for food and wanting food and eating a lot to make up for it. And this wanting was just so powerful, until, until I really started meditating and settle something deep inside of me. And, and so and so that wanting that desire, sometimes the greed is expressed in how we use our eyes, where the eyes are searching and scanning and maybe a little bit coming out of their sockets kind of like the or straining to kind of figure out what is it that I want? Or how do I get it or something. And I've had that when I went to bookstores, and when I was younger, I loved the idea of when I was poor, I couldn't buy books much but I wanted books. And and I just look at all these titles, look at books. And you know, I was in the bookstore, looking for the books that I wanted to buy, buy, buy, buy, but you know, I wasn't going to buy any but you know and left bookstores with kind of headache and exhausted from it. So sometimes in the eyes, sometimes in our posture, leaning forward or tensing up in a kind of way from the desire. And so to begin becoming sensitive to pervasive attitude, manner, a mood of desire which maybe underlies a lot of the behavior, we have a lot of ways we're thinking. If you track your what you're thinking about through the day, how much of the thoughts are motivated by desire and wanting something and wanting something different. And, and, as I said, some of that can be born from a discontent from an attitude from a belief that there's not enough that there's, we're afraid we want to prove ourselves we want to be, you know, approved up by other people, all kinds of things can go behind that desire, but they're all activities of the mind. And kind of of the surface mind. And as we meditate there's we have some some some way to quiet that surface mind. And there's an absence of always doing always going and and then there can be the alternative elective proposed to this mind that's always desiring is contentment to be content to content with what you have to be contented with your basic requisites cared for. And, and a roof over your house, you know, clothes on your body, you know, just, you know, just content with a basic search, you're safe you're cared for. And, and but it's not a contentment, that is a belief or something you have to do or now talk yourself into. It's a contentment that comes from the mind being quiet enough that it's not operating from this desire and feeling of lack, which are activated states reactive states. And this quietness is contentment that is almost a non doing or arises out of a steep settledness that you have to stay settled to feel this deep contentment or return to it. That's not something if you lose your contentment, you have to do more to become content. It's more like an undoing and, and realizing that there is a contentment as possible, a certain kind of contentment. Not necessarily content with everything. But the ongoing attitude, the mood that we're in, that's what we're talking about this week. So that the even though that you might be discontented with something, politics or something that the ongoing attitude by which you see the world understand the world understand yourself is seen through a, a lens of contentment. There's a mood of contentment, that's pervasive. It's the background for how you think can speak and go about the day. And, and I'd like to propose that that sense of contentment
arises when we're not activated with other attitudes, other beliefs, other ways of thinking that somehow are critical somehow or divisive, somehow fracturing, something that takes away our overall sense of wholeness. When we're operating from the those thoughts, the belief that something's wrong with us, the acting from a place that we're a problem, and there's problems with us, we all have so called problems, we all have things, ways in which we, you know, are not perfect. But to be operating with that as an attitude, it just pervasive carrying with us retelling ourselves the same story, the same idea. So we walk, travel around with that attitude all the time, is completely unnecessary. And to find some way to settle that, to step away from it, too, enough so that we don't believe it enough. So that a different attitude is the one that is supporting us, that's feeding us that's benefiting us. And we're not walking around with an attitude that's undermining ourselves. So even if some of the things you about you are true, that maybe you have some kind of quirk that's difficult to not make not use that, as, as the basis for a pervasive attitude that you carry with you all the time. That's unnecessary. There's ways of being honest and clear and practical about the quirks we have. without it becoming a pervasive view that something wrong with me, something's I have a problem for the world or something like that. And so contentment. So today, I'd like to suggest that if you're interested, that you kind of ride through the day, with the investigation of looking at these two, how does desire work for you? how pervasive is it? How much are you caught in the world of desire, you're wanting things and is there kind of not just doing of contentment, which is not so interesting, but rather a settling into contentment, a kind of opening up and relaxing into a place for more where there's a sense of wholeness of who we are, rather than a sense of divisiveness or fractured sense of self. And in that wholeness, there's less to do less to prove. And from out of that, can come a contentment, out of that contentment can come a very different way to operate in the world and speak and do things and, you know, be a full fully engaged citizen, but but from an attitude that's beneficial. So, so to spend some time appreciating what might be the pervasive attitudes that you carry with you. And consider whether attitudes, attitudes that you're carrying, there's a need to be 24/7? Does it need to be always operating and always the view through which you see things? And if it's a reactive attitude or, or undermining attitude? Is there an alternative? And for today, it's the I suggest you look at desires and contentment. And is there a way to be content and still take care of what you need take care of what needs to happen, but from that contentment rather than from an attitude of desire or even greed. So, thank you. So may this support your deep well being, to see the difference between these two kinds of attitudes?