This is the last talk on the theme of meaning in the connection to doing practice doing meditation practice. And the meaning is the assigning of value purpose. interpretations to our meditation practice, to Buddhist practice. And there's many different assigning of purpose, value that we can give to it. And I've said this already, but for example, someone might go and be have some kind of illness, and the doctor says, You need to find some way to have less stress in your life, I think you should meditate. And so the assigned meaning and purpose of meditation is that it's for distressing. And the primary interpretation, understanding of what meditation is, is a form of distressing. Someone else might find that they are struggling at work, because they have to give regularly, little talks publicly to a large group of people at work. And they are petrified, really afraid, and they stumbling over the words, it's very hard for them to do it. And they think I need to find some way to calm down into work with my fear. And so someone suggested they try mindfulness meditation, partly to calm down, but partly to kind of get a handle on what's really going on there for them and, and kind of work through the fear, learn to hold the fear in different way and not be hooked into it. And so that becomes the assign meaning purpose value of it is to help them work with their fear. Someone else might feel that, in some clear way, they have been suffering much of their life, there's been a sense of heaviness or despair or, or or strain that they kind of live with. And even when they go on vacation, there's something not quite right, there's a dissatisfaction. And then they hear maybe some Buddhist teaching in a classic little example for some people is they hear the teachings are the four noble truths, and they say, Wow, no one's ever talked about. So. So putting front and center that there's there is suffering in this world, and everyone I've talked to before is trying to get away from it or say, it's not really they're just kind of trying to paint a nice picture of how wonderful this world is. And I just see suffering everywhere. And here are these teachings say, yes, there is suffering. But they didn't stop there, they said, there was a cause and a possibility of freedom from that suffering. And they have a path ever practice for doing that. And that just kind of so now, so that excited them that kind of void them and, and kind of said, Yes, this is what I want to do and motivated them. So now the assign meaning purpose value of meditation has to do with some of the deeper existential issues of being a human being that that person has. Some people do the practice of meditation, do other things that come out, open their mind, dramatically release them from ordinary kind of states of being in the world where it's so strong B versus EU and so strong, like we have to kind of just kind of chase after our thoughts, whatever thoughts chase after us are very strong sense of kind of alienation from everything or the world or all kinds of ways in which people live. And somehow something they do. time in nature, time with a lover, taking a psychedelic or meditating. And in meditation deeper and deeper, they might get released from so much of the holding patterns and tightness and constrictions of their, of their mind, their clinging, their wanting their fear. And they start having a taste a feeling experience of what it's like to not have any of those present, to be able to breathe easily to feel a sense of freedom, to feel a sense of intimacy with a world, very different relatedness to the world around us and to other people that to feel so much more meaningful
than anything else. Meaningful perhaps because the alternative way of being hurts is challenging is stressful. And it's feels really good just feels healthy. It feels more natural. They're not be caught up in the fears and the desires and the greed and the conceits that we can have happen. And wow, this is health. This is psychological, spiritual health. This is from people, it's not just psychological, it feels so pervasive throughout their life, pervasive throughout their consciousness and how they touch the world or see the world or perceive everything, that to call it psychological seem so limited to something kind of bounded or small, that this is big, this is everything. And so now the assigned meaning to the meditation is that it's a way of living from that place, or be connected to it, or finding it or, or practicing in a way that is kind of, attuned to something that's more than psychological well being and health, but some kind of spiritual kind of, or broad existential way of being. And so there's all these different levels or layers of ways of assigning meaning and purpose and value and an understanding of what meditation is. And none of them are wrong. They're all kind of wonderful. It's important for each person to find where it is for them right now. So they can do it do that way well and engage well without, each of them have kind of little different ways of practicing different orientations different focuses for what the mindfulness can be. But for the topic for today, is the way in which meditation, the meaning of meditation assigned value of it or the association we have with it can be with what we what some people might call the sacred, what is most sacred. And that's, of course, a big word to some Buddhists don't care for we to heart, I don't think there's any obvious Buddhist word that you know, Pāli word that can translate our sacred. But except maybe if we want to use the word dharma. And, or sometimes the word Noble is kind of used that way sometimes. But I like the word sacred. Because it's not so clear what exactly it means. But it has to do with our ultimate value, what we what we see and understand and, and orient ourselves to that, that touches all aspects of our life. It's kind of the heart or the source or the the context for how we want to live our life, that kind of what defines our life, or what's valley that would validates something or our whole life, the whole existence. It, it is all inclusive. And, and my kind of favorite definition of what is sacred in our Buddhist practice, is an awareness that leaves nothing out. As soon as there's a selection process, it says, No, that I'm not going to be aware of that I'm going to exclude that is not acceptable for me to bring attention to this open, clear mindfulness to then we've kind of shut off from we're shut off from the sacred. And what is most sacred is when the awareness is all encompassing nothing, it doesn't mean we agree with everything or condone everything, but the awareness can hold it all. And we trust that awareness. And then within that wide universe of awareness, that we floated, that we live in that we trust, then we find our way with wisdom with whatever is going on. And if we have to say no to something, we say no, but But it's all held. So, but other people have other ideas of what is sacred or sacred is not the right word is ultimate, the what has has ultimate value for us or what we are committed to, to put at the center of our life, some people put family at the center and with family may be as a love or the connection or the sense of responsibility or devotion or some people put it of course, put work some people put being of service to others.
That is ultimate, some people's connection to God if you belong you to have a theistic orientation. And, and but in in dharma practice, at some point what becomes can become central for some people is the dharma itself, the practice itself. And so at that point, it's so ultimate so like the center like gives the most meaning the most valuable most purpose to our lives that that's where we want to have our life come from and be supported by and, you know, everything has to be connected to this dharma. And one of the reasons for that is we've learned that anything other than that, of what we understand to be the dharma, non clinging, anything other than non clinging, that involves clinging, is less healthy, is less, less satisfying, less meaningful, this, you know, just it hurts. So, when so at some point to the meditation then becomes not something that we have to do and add to our life, it becomes our life. And there's a wonderful transition or switch that can happen, where rather than asking the question, How can I bring my practice into my life? Meditation is great, but I wouldn't know how to go on retreat is great. But how do I bring this practice into my life? And that's a beautiful question. I love it when people ask that question. But at some point, the questions are changes. At some point, the question beat the equip becomes, how would I bring my life into my practice? The practice six center stage, the practice is the stage. And the question is, you know, how do I bring the audience? How do I bring the visitors how to bring everything up on the stage, to be included there. Rather than, you know, our ordinary life is the stage and the practice is one of the people in the audience that gets invited in to be part of part of the, the plane. So, so to then to trust this, to have faith in it to have confidence in it is one of the possibilities. In this topic, this theme of meaning, where do that the meaning is that this is what I trust. This is what I have faith, and this is what I have confidence in. This is where I have certainty that this is, this is the right place for me to be the center the focus, the root of my life. And some people at that point will feel well, you know, wait a minute, I'm being disloyal to my family, for example, you know, I have to love them. And that's something else we have more central seems like a betrayal. And this is my proposal is that that doesn't have to be betrayal, the love you have for the world, for family. The other things that are important for you, they can remain just as important to always as they are now. There's no diminishment of importance. But more important, is the dharma is the practice of mindfulness, the awareness practice this. That's, that's more central. And, and rather than diminishing, the love and the care, the responsibility, the devotion towards the things that are important, you were way float in the dharma, it holds us up. So we can do that those things are worthwhile, we can do them better. It doesn't diminish their importance, it just makes them richer and more valuable. And we, we come to it as a better person. So it is safe to put the dharma at the center of your life more important than anything else. Because it's the water that we float in, and how wonderful to float in that water. Then you can be a lifeguard if need be. But if you haven't learned to float, you're not going to save a lot of people. So
So a week on the topic of meaning. And so a couple of things, I want to make an announcement. And then I want to stay here again for a few more minutes. Because I asked you to do a big assignment yesterday of the 100 You know, meaning statements. And I would love those who have time to stay a little bit to type in the chat just a little bit. It could be a few words like wonderful, horrible, maybe a bit longer, like you know, whatever you were just we I want to get some sense of what it was like to do that exercise for those of you who did it. So the announcement is that next week, I want to be here and I there we I don't have a teacher to teach. So I'm going to do what we did a few weeks ago is that we're going to do a replay of of a talk I gave a couple of years ago I think That isn't the same series that we did in September when there was two weeks where it was doing that. And that's the brahmavihāra has four kinds of love. And we did loving kindness and compassion. And this next week we'll do equanimity. So it'll be a talk I gave on December so I might have a sweater on and I don't know what my hair was like But you'll see me in a different form I'll be the younger Gill. And, and for those of you who are tuning in, everything will be the same some people won't even know that I'm actually not here because the the chat will be available and everything and you come together and community. And so that's that plan for next week. And so, thank you very much. And those of you who did the exercise of the sentence about meaning, the hundreds you doing that 100 times and maybe you did it 50 times. If you would like to write down little bit for me, what in the chat for your if you can, I would love to to see some of it.