2023-04-07-Gil-Locations for Awareness (5 of 5) Compassion and Locations for Awareness
5:16PM Apr 7, 2023
So welcome to this fifth talk on locations for awareness or perspectives on awareness. And this theme for this week is, was selected because last time I was here, I talked about compassion. And this week, next week, next week, I'd like to continue this theme of compassion. But in between I wanted to explore the medium through which compassion travels or occurs or is, is stimulated. And that medium is our capacity for attention. If we have compassion for another person who's suffering, then the only way that we know their suffering is we know it, there's an awareness of it, there's a attention, experience it in some way. And, and that act that the act of knowing act of being aware, can often go unexamined, unconsidered. It's almost as if there is no separation, it's just suffering. And that we experienced that suffering, almost sometimes. And sometimes the, the empathy, so called the empathy of other people suffering, is experienced as too hard for people who feel overwhelmed, they feel like they're way too sensitive, they feel that they get exhausted or from it, or they don't quite understand how to have compassion, because they don't quite, they feel kind of apart from other people suffering and don't feel like doesn't touch them in some way. So a lot of this has to do with the nature of how we're being aware. And we can be aware in different ways. And so to begin knowing the range, and the variety of ways in which knowing comes into existence, you know, we know something because we see it, we know something, because we hear it, if someone tells us a story about someone who's suffering, the medium through which that's coming is through the hearing. If we're with someone who's suffering, we see it, then it's through the seeing. And if we're sitting, you know, by ourselves, and we remember, that's someone who's suffering, then it's through the medium of our thoughts or images in the mind or memory. So these are all different means of becoming aware. And then there's a sense of how we're aware from where we're aware of this. And often enough, the locus of awareness is our sense of self. In fact, that locus sometimes is what around what we construct our sense of self. Also. And so how we're aware of the location, which we're aware from, is are we is something that we can change and adjust. That's been the theme for this week. And a skilled use of awareness of mindfulness is to be sensitive to how the different ways in which we can be aware, and then be able to have some skill in choosing how to be aware, if we don't choose the difference between all the different modalities of awareness, then if the modality of awareness which we have is not serving us when we're with suffering, then we're just going to keep touching into that to this unhelpful way of sharing and just suffering of others in a way that it's exhausting, or there's, or it's debilitating, or we just feel too much pain to really have effective compassion. So to find a way of being aware, that allows us to be balanced allows us not to be to suffer more than the person who's suffering, to suffer less to, but to be empathic to feel to know what's happening. So we can move around our awareness we can sometimes met, sometimes it helps to feel like we're really removed, the mind steps back and gets the bird's eye view. Sometimes we can get really close, we don't take a physically get close button to really kind of sense close to what's happening. And maybe it's feeling closely what's happening to ourselves. Because if we're not if we use this medium of awareness to only be aware of others, that we're missing out on the impact and what how we're participating in it, in the, in the experience that we're having, and if we're only with ourselves And then it also can be imbalanced the whole situation. So yesterday I talked about the 5050 approach to being aware fit to present here if present there. As men, it meditation as mindfulness becomes a richer and fuller for people. One way that we can be aware of, in of people suffering, beware of compassion, be aware, in general, is to have the awareness, not be yoked to our sense of self, to me, myself and mine, that, to have that part of the mind not hijack or not engaged with how we're aware of what we're aware of. And, and just just be aware, and not even being aware of receptively because if a receptive awareness, there's something someone who's receiving, that will be actively aware of going out to be aware out there, because then there's an actor, someone who's doing the, the awareness, there is this marvelous kind of middle way that we're just can be aware without being the receiver. And without being the actor who goes, and it can be, there can be a lot of clarity, it's not being aloof or disconnected. But it's a connection, which is not, doesn't have a receiver doesn't have a thought idea concept stories about who I am, and what I have to do in my responsibilities. And, and this is the, you know, that this is something I have to deal with, I have to respond to. And this is happening to me, there's a victim here, here I go again, and there's a lot of extra stuff that comes along, that has a lot to do with our conceptual mind that our thinking mind and our, our something it's kind of activation is going on, that we don't even know we're activated. I just seems like this is how it always is. Meditation as we get quieter and quieter settled more and more settled, then at some point, the construct of a receiver or even a receiving is not needed. The construct of having the mind go towards something and become aware of it does not need it. There is just allowing whatever arises in awareness, whatever it might be, without choice, just arise without a sense of a doer or receiver. Without a sense of it's out there and I'm here, without distance, without at the same time there's no distance, there is no concern for distance, it isn't like we're glued to anything. That's not that kind of lack of distance. It's it's because there's no reference point for distance no reference point for being glued to something, something just arises. And, and it can be phenomenally respectful for oneself and for others, this kind of very relaxed open awareness, because it allows each thing to be just what it is for itself. So the so sometimes, it's completely wonderful and fun, even and appropriate to be take agency over how we're aware and to adjust how we're aware and find how to be aware that's the right way for the moment the appropriate way for us for the situation. And then sometimes, what can we be available to us as this dropping away of self dropping away have a reference point, that it isn't that we're becoming shut down or aloof or disconnected? There's a lot of sensitivity to our, you know, our body or mind our thoughts what's happening here. It just, it's not organized around this idea of a central person who's having this experience. But we're responsible for all of this. We know all of this, but we're not engaged in that kind of preoccupation, the agitation around me, myself and mine. And there can be a lot of presents for another person. And, and there's just kind of a sense of freedom, a sense of infinite space, that things just exist. They're in their own simplicity. In a ways, times when it's really strong. There's no future and past. It's just what it is. There's no here nor there. It's just what it is. There's no closeness and no aloofness or distance, it's just what's there. And everything is just there.
And, and that's a marvelous way for compassion just to arise and compassion, there's just their compassion has been triggered has been awakened. But there's no burden to compassion, there's no obligation to compassion, there's no me that has to do something with this. It's all just kind of allowed to arise and be there, compassion arises. And if there's a, something we can do, the motivation to do it arises in that same freedom and to deep, deep trust, in allowing this deeper stuff to occur. And as long as we have this heightened sensitivities, heightened clarity to what's happening in our body, or minds and thoughts, then the intuition is not going to be hijacked by our preferences, or our unhelpful desires, or our ego. Some people let go of just really trust their intuition in this kind of way that I'm talking about. But they're not really in touch with themselves very well, they don't really aware of what's happening in themselves. And sometimes they do mistakes and they act impulsively, or they don't realize how much they're acting on ego or desires, it just feels like they're just free and allowing things to happen. So So, next week, I'll talk about compassion. And I hoping that this prepares the ground that as you hear about compassion, and how I'm going to talk about it, that you will have, you will consider how to adjust the medium for how to be aware the way to be aware of suffering in the world. And to so that how you're aware, allows for something deeper to happen, which is what I'll talk about tomorrow, next week. And so in preparation for that, if you have the time and the inclination for this weekend, as you become aware of your own suffering, the suffering of others, explore little this thing about the medium of awareness how you're aware, what's the location from which from which you're aware? What's the mean, the way in which you know it? Is it more feeling in the body, it's more in the head with thoughts is more from a distance more close? In? Which of all those as a useful way to be there? And then maybe they they all have their own use at different times? And then is there something about being with suffering? That is it radically simple, so simple, that it just suffering, just compassion, just presence, just attention, without all the crowd being crowded in? By thoughts, obligation responsibilities, fixing it, experiencing and being the experience or how it is for me, just allow it to be so. So explore this, and and then maybe you the more you can explore this over the weekend, I'm hoping the more you'll understand the tremendous value of compassion that compassion has for this path of mindfulness, and how it really is a very significant way to learn about mindfulness and how to develop on this path. So thank you very much. And maybe I've said this before reminder, not this Sunday, but the following wine on the 16th. IMC is going to have an online community meeting at 11 o'clock Sunday morning. So after the Sunday morning program, and your important part of the community all of you who come here to at the 7am and you're very hard to heart for lay you're welcome to come and be part of the discussion about the community life of IMC and what's happening with a pandemic and at this stage and other things about this community. So, the Zoom link will be available a couple of days before the IMC is calendar. So thank you very much.