So today we come to the fourth characteristic of the dhamma. The dharma. And that is that it's paññā Yoko. And most commonly, it's that's understood as it's onward leading. And I like this translation of the word, there are other meanings of it, the ancient commentaries, they discussed some of the different meanings they can have. These days bhikkhu Bodhi, the great translator of our suit does, he's translating it as applicable, applicable, that the dharma dharma something that you can immediately apply, you can use it's usable, and, which is also a very nice idea. And it's, it's immediately used, you can use it. And so, and another meaning of it is that is that the dhamma is something it's immediate, and now, and approachable, something to be to approach, something that's nearby, something to be close to stay close to. We're guided close to it. So these kinds of different meanings. I'm, so the idea of onward leading I'm very fond of, because when we practice, it's not a static thing that we sit in practice, nothing changes. We set in motion change when we practice, and the how do we understand that change. And how's it onward leading in my vocabulary, I think of onward leading, as something that has almost a natural quality to it, it moves along without my effort. So if I feel float on top of current and as the river, it's onward leading, it carries me along. If I stand on a conveyor belt, you know that these walking on the sidewalks that they have at the airport, I've seen that the airport, you stand there and just carries you along, you don't have to do the walking. So this idea of being carried along, unfolding by the dharma. And the you know, it's not the mystical or strange thing I like to understand it very simply, that it the dharma is to see the dharma to be visible here now to really see it, to take a good look at it. What's happening here. Now, one of the things we start seeing is the tensions we hold the holding patterns in the body and the mind starts seeing the strain the stresses were, we carry with us. And, and there's something about showing up and being really present for tension for stress for holding for that something begins to release. It's hard, it's a sooner or later, it's hard for the system or five psychophysical system, to relax, to, to hold on to keep being tense, under the gaze, of mindfulness of awareness. It's kind of like we can't do two things at once. We can't be fully present, and fully tense and fully engaged in the holding on and clinging. And so as we devote ourselves to being present to being aware, the part of us was less energy available to be tense, to try to hold on to be to cling, and so then it begins to relax and soften. Sometimes we see what we're holding on to and we let go of it and something relaxes. And that relaxation of the system mind heart body is onward leading because it heightened heightened sensitivity, to recognize more clinging to recognize the remnants that what's you know, the next layer of tension or strain that we have, it heightens our attention to notice when we bring in more strain again, we get tense again. And you can see that in meditation, sometimes very clearly where it was pretty relaxed and at ease. And then we have a certain thought or memory and we feel the tightening up someplace, maybe the whole body or we brace ourselves in some way. And we can see we're getting involved in an idea, a story and the effect it has. And sometimes it's it's in seeing it so clearly. It's possible to let go of it say I don't need to be involved in that story.
I can echo those thoughts and let it go and the body relaxes a little bit. And so. So sometimes it's a practice that we do, because of this heightened sensitivity that we get more and more aware of it. And so as we relax, we're more sensitive as we relax. These, there's a momentum towards greater ease towards greater, letting go not clinging, and our whole body begins shifting. They say that a lot of stress, when we're under a lot of stress, that our kamma, a biochemical makeup inside of us changes, there's more cortisol, stress hormones and different things. And they're not good for us. But as we have ease and distress, the system moves towards kind of a homeostasis of health and well being more or less. And so there's there's onward leading towards health to spiritual health, psychological health, even miss some degree, his physical health, that can happen through this. And so at some point, this movement towards letting go begins to feel like it's happening on its own. And it feels like we're kind of on the gentle slide or an occurrent, that, all we have to do is stay out of the way don't interfere with it. And with the whole system moves towards greater and greater ease, greater and greater, relaxing, letting go opening up. And it's remarkable to feel this, it's almost impersonal, it's almost net a natural quality to it. And it's kind of very inspiring, to feel this not selfhood of this process of the dharma unfolding within us, we have our role for sure. But that we can't engineer it, we have to kind of enable it or allow it and, and stay close to it. And so this dharma that we stay close to, is one of the meanings of paññā Jaco, something to stay close to. And I love this idea that we stay close to the dharma, keep it close in, stay close. Remember it, it's the most important thing for our life. Because it's more important than anything, not because other things are unimportant. But because they sit at the center of a really healthy way of being with things that are important in our life, the important things in our life, if they're worthwhile, stay important. But with the dharma being the most important, we actually have more to offer. The other important things we have in our life. And with the dharma being most important, there's a quality of freedom that comes with how we connect and be with people. We, when people we love, we can still love them fully, maybe even more so. But there's a quality of freedom of non expectation of non demanding, maybe in a non neediness, that goes along with it. So onward leading, then bigger body now, as I said, translated as applicable. So as we see, the tension, the holding that we have, we see it clearly, that shows us what we can do what's useful, we see where we can let go of, and sometimes we can't let go of the tension the holding itself. But we might let go of our self criticism that we might have, oh, I'm such a terrible person on that Buddha's because I'm clinging. Maybe that can be let go of, and we still holding on to something. But we're more at ease with being tense and more at ease with our attachment. And it doesn't mean that we're condoning or celebrating and participating wholeheartedly in our attachments. But it does mean that we're not adding more suffering on top of it. And this is a beautiful quality, I think of dhamma practice of this kind of acceptance, this kind of non movement towards being not being troubled by all the challenges we have all the faults that we have. A few of us have a few faults in her personal faults. And I kind of like to think that every human has it, it's not even personal. It just comes with being a human being. And so to, to not be troubled by that, and the same time to see it and to know it, and not to cause any harm because of it. And as long as we don't cause harm. It's fine to be who you are.
No harm to yourself no harm to others. It's it's profound, because it's an alternative to how much harm has been caused in this world. It's phenomenal the amount of harming that goes on, even in the most subtle ways even among people who love each other There's harm in going on. And it would be a radically different world if we stopped that. So even for one person to come to that place of non harming is just an amazing thing. Stay close to that. So Oupa nyako. This onward, leading quality of the dharma also means the dharma is applicable. It's something we can apply ourselves to, we can apply ourselves to the stream that carries us to greater and greater freedom. And it's something to stay close to stay close to the stream, stay close to this practice, stay close to this thing that can be visible he right here. That is now that is good to take a deep look at it. Yes, look at it deeply. Stay close to that. So that you can experience what the y's experience to be experienced by the y's. And that will be the topic for tomorrow. So thank you, and stay close. So today, stay close to non harming. And, and if that means that you're seeing clearly the way that you harm, try not to be troubled by that. And don't participate in it. See it clearly. Don't add problems on top of it. But that explore this world of harming and non harming. Stay close to that, then you'll find there, you'll see the dharma there, that's where the dharma can be found. So thank you very much.