2021-12-16 Oneself (4 of 5) Benefiting Oneself
4:33PM Dec 16, 2021
So Monday was self respect. Tuesday was self understanding. Wednesday was not harming oneself. And today, the topic is benefiting oneself. And, you know, the Buddha taught for the benefit and welfare of others, that he wanted us he wanted benefits for people. That's what he his whole career, his whole dedication was for people's welfare and well being. And, and to be a follower of the Buddha is then to take those teachings in, so that we can better ourselves so that we can for our own welfare and happiness and for our benefit. And, and this is something that I was a little bit slow to come to, in my Buddhist practice, because of maybe practicing in Zen where this was not emphasized. In fact, maybe it was even discouraged that when one would, one would practice for kind of a self benefit of experiencing happiness, joy, well being. And, and, but somehow, the sense of well-being found me as I kept practicing, and I've come to really appreciate how powerful it is to have a sense of well being. It's a kind of reconditioning, of our psyche of our neurons of our muscles, reconditioning of our mind and heart. And not all of us have had great conditioning in our life, that so the influences on how we think how we understand ourselves, understand the world, how we feel, are not necessarily that which is brings welfare and happiness and well being. And, and so rather than, so one of the ingredients for developing a really healthy sense of well being, is not so much doing it directly, like it's the but rather indirectly, by creating the conditions for wellbeing, for benefiting ourselves. And classically, in Buddhism, such a talk would always refer to the importance of living an ethical life, that if we can live ethically, and then that can be nourishing for ourself that can, that itself is a form of nourishment, as from inspiration, if it was a form of goodness, but that's not automatically so for many of us. And so, for our ethical behavior, to nourish to be nourishing, we have to appreciate the underlying goodness of a dedication of living wholesomely, lit, living ethically. So it might be hard to actually do it, but, but to live one's life with that dedication, with that love for an ethical wholesome, skillful life. That is a powerful thing. And, and to appreciate that intention, that commitment, not so much that you have to do it intellectually, but rather, ideally, that that desire that wish that movement towards living an ethical life is itself coming from a place of inner goodness of inner well being inner, something, it touches something inside of us that has a rightness to it. wholesomeness to it. And it's that wholesomeness, we begin discovering inside, that the practice can grow and develop. To sit in many people don't discover this, through being ethical first, but rather through meditation, that meditation is a kind of first deconditioning. By relaxing and not being so caught up in our mind streams of thoughts and reactions, we're beginning to take some of the power behind some of our old conditioning, some of the old habits of mind that we have. And so there's a kind of a deconditioning process and the calmer we become Stiller would become meditation. The quieter the mind becomes a meditation, the more it's actually a deconditioning process, letting go of old habits, that mind that are maybe not serving us.
Many, many ways in which we have rumination and way people think it's actually unhealthy. It undermines us, it debilitates us it drains us, because it's the thinking is so negative or stressful. And so as the mind gets quieter and Stiller there's a deconditioning process, and then it can be replaced with wholesome thinking wholesome desires, nice ways of being, or to say it differently as we get calmer. more subtle, some people there discover, maybe first as a little seed a glimmer. A feeling of this, this feels wholesome. This feels his goodness in this there's a happiness, there's a sense of well being that comes, we're just sitting here, we're just being alive is enough just sitting here breathing, and letting go of all the past conditioning or the reactivities of the mind. A mind doesn't have to be fed by the heart doesn't have to be fed by external stimuli of other people things doing things, recreation opportunities, TV shows, food, drink all kinds of things. The mind can be content and happy, the heart can become content and happy. Without searching and wanting and getting outside. It's almost as if, if we let go of all the conditioning, the harmonious flow of energy within money's flow of the heart and the mind has has a feeling of health in it healthiness and goodness and joy and happiness. So to start getting a feeling thought through meditation, from being from the ethical impulse, the, and then to appreciate that glimmer of well being that that which is nourishing within that which is wholesome, that which has a quality of happiness and goodness in it, to appreciate that, and value it enough that we stay close to it. And a very important moment can happen in Buddhist practice, where some quality of interest, some good quality of inner, inner life. And then I say that vaguely because different people identify different things, but something and feels good quality of heart quality of mind is experienced. And one begins to see the places where there's a choice, whether to leave that behind by getting into a reactive mind again, or coming back and staying close to it. And nourishing it supporting it. Not giving it up, staying close and allowing it to grow. It is like a seed that we want to like, like a gardener, to nourish that seed to water it to fertilize it to protect it. So that that's at delicate and fragile little plant that's a sprout can grow and develop. And so this point comes in Buddhist practice where we have a reference point for this some kind of inner well being. And, and then the opportunities there to stay close to it. Not tight, not fending off the world and shutting down from the world and becoming a hermit. But still staying close and living our life from that place, going into the world being with our people, but have that as a reference point. And one of the ways to have a reference point is to habitus is what I'm going to do now undermine or detract from this neuro this nourishing place I've discovered, or is it going to enhance it or develop it or just keep it you know, keep it steady. It requires mindfulness, it requires a willingness to keep paying attention to it and come back to it and stay close. And in the process, we'll learn a lot a lot about ourselves, we learn a lot about the subtle ways and not so subtle ways that we lose that that we kind of bypass it the way we pick up stress and tension in our body and mind and heart. And, and that's a very important learning that we have to learn that. So rather than feeling, you know bad about oneself, then we get stressed or tense or reactive. From that nourishing place is okay here, this is what I have to work with. This is what I have to understand and learn with that to see this so that I could find another way and find the places of choice to not give in to that too easily. And so
and so we're looking for where's the well being and then to do the things in our lives, that creating conditions for it to be there. So rushing and being in a hurry is not conducive to cultivating inner well being. And just that one thing to dedicate a life plan, plan ahead, plan your days. Consider your priorities, maybe do less things so that you can stay close to what is nourishing and supportive for this inner growth. If we're rushing around to too many things that cannot be there. It's kind of like becomes eclipsed and it doesn't have a chance to to grow. And initially that might seem like my team, like the other things you're doing rushing around to do are more important than our own welfare and well being. But over time, you'll see that this is probably the most important treasure you have the most valuable thing you have is more important than money and relationships and jobs and all kinds of activities you might be doing, not to dismiss the importance of those things, and to the importance of having them, but to not lose, not not, can be involved with them at the expense of losing this connection to what's benefits ourselves to connection, this inner goodness, this nourishment. And, and the paradox is that as this inner goodness of nourishment or inner benefit grows, the our relationship to the external world improves dramatically. And it becomes richer and more valuable. Rather than losing the external world, the inner goodness touches of some of the best qualities of the external world. So So benefiting oneself, we're allowed to benefit oneself, not only we're allowed to do it, but we're encouraged to do it in a way that's not selfish the way that's not. But what that really nourishes and supports the freedom, the joy, the happiness, the goodness, the well being, that can can can flow from within. So the Buddha taught the benefit, and welfare and happiness of all beings, including you. And so it's okay for you to pursue your own well being. You're free, you're doing so you'd fought you're following the Buddha's wishes. May you find great well-being May you thrive in well-being in dharmic. well-being. May the dharma bring you much joy and happiness. Thank you