2022-08-04 Finding Our Way (4 of 5) With Happiness and Suffering
3:30PM Aug 4, 2022
So before I give the talk, before I forget, I want to mention that tomorrow, Friday, after our morning, meditation and teaching at 745, California time, we can have a community meeting those who would like to stay. And we'll do it on Zoom like we have in the past, though I usually leave the YouTube on in case there's people, I don't want to go on YouTube and on Zoom, and they can participate a little bit, just listening. And so if you'd like to be part of that, I'll post later today, the link for the Zoom meeting. And it'll be on the What's New section of IMCs website and also an IMCs calendar. And also put it on the chat tomorrow, tomorrow as well. And there'll be a password needed to get into the site and the password will, will be mettā, M et ta the Pāli word for kindness. And we'll maybe do it for 45 minutes or so. And maybe we'll do a breakout group so that you can meet each other a little bit talk. And I'll be available for questions and things like that. So
so finding our way in this challenging world, finding our way with the personal challenges we have, and with our minds and all that. And one of the things we're navigating and working against working with is the the Navigating the terrain of happiness and suffering. And in Buddhists talk a lot about suffering. It's a big word for some people, sometimes some people who come new to Buddhism are a little disturbed by how often we talk about suffering, because suffering just seems like such a monumental thing. But we use the term and new wide way. And but one of the ways we like to use it today, happiness and suffering is is something that's deeper than contentment, deeper than gladness deeper than joy. But that happiness is something that's deeply personal. And that the opposite of that suffering is also something deeply personal. That some of the greatest suffering that people experience is when they've been a real personal violation, whether it's a physical violation against your body, or whether it's been a violation against some deep sense of trust, or deep violation about who you are as a person or in a relationship to others. And the I remember many years ago that a friend of mine had her car broken into, and she felt like it was such a deep violation, somehow their car represented so much more than just a car. And so our sense of safety and place in this world, that sense of belonging is a very personal issue. And to have the sense of belonging have a sense of connection to the world or our sense of meaning. personal meaning and purpose have a sense of our even our sense of worth of our personal value somehow dismissed or destroyed or, or threatened can cause a lot of suffering. It isn't just a simple suffering that I have a flat tire and I came late to an important meeting that something is deeply personal. And with that it's you know, can we can stay can have deep conditioning factors within us. On the corollary, there is the same for happiness is not this happiness that oh, now I fixed the car, the tire, and that's great. I'm not stuck here anymore. And I think I'll get to the meeting on time. That's nice and certainly can be happy around that. But by the time you get to the meeting, you've forgotten about the tire and what happened there. But that the happiness that real sukha Pāli word, they're real happy. Enos of the dharma is something very personal, that touches something very deep within us of fullness and, and, and is overlaps with the feeling of sense of belonging or meaning or purpose overlaps with a sense of worth and value that is full, that sense of personal confidence. And so there's a fullness, there's a depth to it. Some people might take exceptions to my use my my repeated use of the word personal today, I do a little bit to be, too, because it's something a Buddhist don't tend to use to really kind of challenge you to look deeper into yourself into a fullness. And, of course, there's a common teaching in Buddhism, not to take things personally. And I understand this to mean it's the taking, it's the appropriation of things and saying, This is who I am, the act of defining ourselves by something, the act of,
of proving ourselves or building up yourself building up this edifice of ego that we have, which keeps us in some way superficial, the happiness of, of, of sukha, this happiness of the dharma is something that's fuller, deeper than anything that you could take personally, or assumed to be or define yourself by. It's not about definitions. It's more like being so comfortable with yourself, that you will, you don't need to be defined by anything. You don't need to prove yourself towards anyone, you have nothing to fear. Because it's so deep, the personal is so deep, it's kind of like we tap into some depth inside of peace of well being of person, personal, personal illness, that it can't be touched can't be hurt, no matter what other people do to us, maybe this is a place that is a reservoir of well being. So it's very personal. Now, in terms of so part of the theme of today, this week is the pendulum, that there is a kind of happiness and suffering, that live in relationship to each other to each other. And you set up one, and it almost, it's almost like preparing the ground for the other to come back and forth. And that's when the we take things personally in a superficial way. We take things personally by some appropriated identity or definition, that is not really who we are. So for example, if if the I define myself by being a YouTube producer, producing shows for YouTube, or whatever, and then the technology works well for a few months, like it has likely I could feel really happy about myself. But when, when somehow I forget to push the right buttons, then then the happiness that comes from the praise I get from others and the delight that others have with my great capacity on YouTube plummets, and then I feel miserable because I forgot some push the right buttons. And, and so then I feel unhappy and I suffer and, and, and so that pendulum that happiness and sufferings dependent on these kind of superficial things and fragile things, is really, because reality is always changing. It sets up for crashing and building yourself up again. So finding our way with the superficial will keep us superficial. The dharma practice is to connect something deep, something it's not defined by the superficial things or it's not influenced or affected by what happens is not affected by what other people think about us believe it or not, not affected by whether we're successful or failure in the things that we do. We do think sincerely and honestly, and some succeed and some fail. And but the depth of our being, we really reside and live inside, we're comfortable with ourselves. That is not that is not, you know, touch that's, that stays intact. And so so to not know The depth of and be comfortable and resolved and healed and the depth of us can leave that depths in a place that there's a lot of suffering. But if we heal it and work with it, and relaxed and open and deeply in it, and this deep personal place where we can find peace and home and trust and refuge is not exactly a pendulum anymore. It's it's abides by itself. And, and if it falls away, doesn't necessarily go into despair or deep suffering. But deep suffering is there if we take things personally, deep suffering is not there. If we are personal, if we abide in rest in that, which is deep and full and complete inside of ourselves.
And, and so in Buddhism, we're quite fond of talking about not-self. And one way to bring these two things together, I'm talking about today and not-self, is that when we are so personal, so at home, so resting what's most personal, most intimate, most full, that flows from within us, it's so full, it's so complete, it's so that there's no tendency or desire to define a self out of it, to find yourself in it to want to self in it to hold on to a self there. The any kind of the kind of idea of me myself in mind, those kinds of concerns, just fall away. Just as maybe someone who's involved in wonderful play or wonderful sport or wonderful playing music. There's, they can get lost and lost in the, in the what they're doing. Can we say lost, completely absorbed in what they're doing. And it just feels so complete and good to be there. And there isn't occur to them while they're doing the activity, the usual thoughts about myself and me myself in mind. So the same way we meditate are in the dharma, this deep personal place where we can find comfort, comfort, belonging, healing, happiness, well being. If we really can learn to be there and trust it, and allow ourselves to get quiet enough to release, observe, be absorbed in it. There's no movement in the mind or tendency of the mind. For me, myself and mine. From the point of view of the surface, where we think a lot about me myself in mind, and we live in that world of me and myself in mind, the mind might when I say these things might immediately come, but I am me. And there are things that are mine. So from the logic of that school, more superficial, the world. Yes. And maybe what I'm saying doesn't make sense. But, but that superficial world, that's the world where the pendulum of suffering and unhappiness, live in relationship to each other and, and we kind of get trapped in the pendulum swing back and forth, maybe and, and, and then it never ends. But this the depth of who we are, the depth of well-being the peace of the dharma, that's within us that dharma. And so, when you become yourself fully, in this personal way, then it said, then the dharma becomes the self when you are yourself, the dharma is the dharma. You are the dharma then. So thank you, and look forward to coming back tomorrow and and then having our meeting at in 24 hours. So thank you.