2021-12-10-Calmness (5 of 5) The Calm Beyond Conflict
4:05PM Dec 10, 2021
So in this fifth and last talk on calmness, I'd like to talk about their calmness of peace. The Buddha, sometimes use the word peace as the goal of Buddhist practice, peacefulness, becoming, finding peace, being at peace in some deep, embodied way. And also the peace. That's the calmness of peace. And another way of looking at this in other perspective, it's learning how not to be in conflict with reality. But the way we do that, in Buddhist practice, is not accepting everything. It's like we just have to go along with how things are and no, not not at all. In fact, I hope that Buddhists are not so removed from taking care of the things that need to be cared for in this world. But what it involves, is not being in conflict, I like to think of it is we're able, our presence, the way that we are attentive the way that we are aware, the way the mind is. It's we're not caught in the grip of conflict or not, the awareness is not shut down, the awareness is not carrying along the baggage of resistance, or anger or judgments or blame, that we learn how to receive what's happening without reactivity. And without receiving it without reactivity, does not mean we agree with it does not mean we accept that it's there. It just means that we meet it without reactivity, without habitual kind of reactivity of version or greed or fear or something like that. But we made it and the calmness of our mind, or the openness of our mind or the receptivity of our mind. And so that we're not caught in it, we're not agitated by it. And if this situation calls upon us, to be reflective about it, to think about it, or to respond to it in some way, then hopefully, this nonreactive way of receiving it, then gets processed through our wisdom, we have some creative, creative kind of thinking and engagement and reflection. And more importantly, the ways that we want to respond, we can maybe be in touch with some of the best qualities within us, we can stay in touch with our peace or calm, we can stay in touch with our generosity, or our care and our love, or our wisdom, we can stay in touch with some of the deeper values we have, that either easily get overridden when we're reactive, if we're really reactive, we can lose touch with a lot of our values and our goodness, and all kinds of things. But the the sense of urgency that reactivity comes with, will often push aside any interest in staying grounded in ourselves or coming back to some deeper connectivity that we have, that sometimes we might feel in meditation, meditation, it feels so right and like a home that we come to and, and and who this is the place to be. But then we sacrifice that because of our reactivity. And so Buddhist practice does involve becoming wise about our reactivity, becoming wise about how we contract, how we constrict how we resist, how we close down, how we pull away, how we attack, all kinds of how we get spin out and our thoughts and our concerns. And, of course, this is like so deep in our psyche, that we do these things, that we can't expect this to stop overnight or you know, quickly. But we can with mindfulness, start recognizing we're doing it, recognizing that we are in conflict with what's going on. We are struggling with what's going on. We are distressed about what's going on in some way. And perhaps it's not necessary to be distressed.
You know, to have that struggle. So to have that being bothered, it means that we're somehow in conflict with reality. And, and so to have our receptivity, the way we receive in our present and take in and register what's happening, that does not, that's not in conflict with anything that is willing to receive even terrible things. I mean, certainly not violence against us. But, but that's, that's willing to receive news and information and even what people say, you know, spaciously. And then, and then, hopefully, we respond wisely. We respond from that peaceful place. And my hope is that, that's a powerful place, we can respond from a place of strength. And non reactivity is a powerful vantage point from which to talk to people respond to people, because sometimes people can feel that they have lost their influence on us by being angry, or by being solicitation, or being all kinds of ways in which people maybe unconsciously, are trying to manipulate us or want us to, they want us to be reactive. They want to make us afraid, or they want to make us desirous or something, but to hold our ground peacefully, calmly, maybe with lots of care and love friendliness, but not playing the games not being caught into the game people are playing or they're the usual, you know, way conflicts go or the usual way in which we activity bounces, we bounce off each other. And it's a very powerful place to stand. Because the people have less influence on us. And, and we become kind of we take our own power back that way. And then from that place, we can say no, from that place, we can say yes, from that place, we can say I'll think about it, some some from that place, we can say, you know, I think we need to talk about what's going on, we can kind of come back in a way. But because we're not reactive, people tend to also hear us better. It's a little bit harder for them to be reactive if we're not reactive, in our strong response to the situation. So this is all a way of saying that. That it's possible to trust, peace, it's possible to trust calm, if that calm and peace and connects us to some deeper place of non reactivity teaches us how to have a receptive awareness. So our awareness is not in conflict with anything, our receptivity to do recognize to be present for is not reactive. And so this non conflict, because we trust, the peaceful place we trust will respond wisely and caringly for ourselves from this peaceful place. So one of the signs of someone or one of the kind of milestones of someone who practices maturing in Buddhism, is they begin trusting, being peaceful, they trust being nonreactive they trust this place of a kind of a warm, vital, meaningful, calm calmness. more than they trust, reactivity more than they trust, agitation more than they trust, being distressed or being anxious or being angry or all these things that, you know, pull us into the world of non calm. We begin trusting that place of peace. And we learned to try find that that is a wellspring, of vitality of goodness of responsivity of creativity of of goodness, it's not a place of being shut down. It's not a place of being somehow couch potato adult couch potato calm. The the one of the metaphors for this kind of deep calm is that of candle flame that is out of the wind. So the candle flame is completely from the distance looks like it's completely still. But we know inside it's very dynamic. So the flame is calm, with a dynamic kind of,
you know, fire within it. So we become calm, and there's a wonderful dynamism have freedom within us, that through which we can respond in the world. So there is a different kinds of calm calmness. And there's physical calmness, mental calmness, there is calmness from the developing concentration and meditation that comes. And then there's a calmness that comes when we start getting a handle on and understanding and wise about our own reactivity. And, and then we start learning that how not to be reactive or how to how to not invest in the reactivity, how to trust, the place of peacefulness, that that is a, that is a wise and safe place to be. And not only do we experience the calm of peace, we also patottie start experiencing the calmness of safety, where we discover that we carry the safety with us inside. And we don't we don't require as much safety around us. And and that is a transformative place to be. So all this is some are skills that we're developing. All this is a gradual process. And one of the supports for this whole gradual process is understanding how all this works in ourselves. So we don't continue believing in things which are unhealthy to believe in, we no longer invest in our ways of being that are unhealthy. And that doesn't mean that we don't wait, maybe we reduce the investment, we don't put as much energy and yet we're not so committed to these unhealthy ways of being in the world. So the calmness of peace, the calmness of not being in conflict with reality. I hope that that was clear. And I hope that this theme of calmness will support you through this holiday season when in one way or the other, that people tend to get less calm in this time, may you bring that calmness to the people you're with. Thank you.
Oh, so then I want to make an announcement maybe that. I'm thinking ahead now to the beginning of the year. And I thought of last year, the beginning of the year, I did this host long series on Anapanasati mindfulness of breathing. And I hope, like to do this year is to do a similar series on sati Putana, which is the four foundations of mindfulness, which is like really the foundation of mindfulness practice. And hopefully we don't confuse you with that with Anapanasati, which is a little bit of a different practice, but they overlap and support each other and can be seen as, as going together. But some point in the new year I'll start going through this Buddhist discourse on this very famous very central practice the four foundations of mindfulness and we'll do that slowly like we did last year following up on a sati so thank you