2021-12-14-Oneself (2 of 5) Self-Understanding
3:53PM Dec 14, 2021
So this morning, I'm continuing on the topic of oneself, that each person is the person responsible for their own practice. The Buddha said, I only point the way, it's up to you to make the effort. And there's a our agency, our involvement, our engagement with practice, is an important part of porn ingredient in walking the path of liberation. And classically, I think the path was, you know, back in the ancient world was a path you walk on, which means the we have to bring all of ourselves to the path. And so one of the important ways that we bring ourselves is to know ourselves is to meet ourselves, too, to the way of meeting ourselves a way of knowing ourselves, needs to be done with care. And I like I love the idea of hospitality. I think I talked about it yesterday that when we offer hospitality, it's an offering, it's a gift, it's something we have agency and are doing. You don't just sit, stay in bed all day and play host to the people in your house, you're engaged and caring for them, serving them and whatever it takes when you're when you're the host. And the and there's also a kind of putting aside of our own desires for ourselves not completely, but there is a difference, or there is a letting go of self concern to a healthy degree, in being a host for other people. That very, very different if you're living alone, and you can do whatever you want. And, and you don't have to take in anybody else into account. So to be a host for oneself, the host within the host is saying in Zen, in Zen, to be a host to create hospital, hospital and hospitable environment for oneself. So for to do that we have agency, we have to engage in some way. And one of the ways we have to engage is to show up to be present. And the other is that we also have to get out of the way, our selfishness has no place when we're being a host for ourselves, if we're caught up in our desires, and our wishes, our past and the future, so we can't really offer this hospitality to ourselves, then, you know, there's no practice, we get lost in that world. And, but to have hospitality towards oneself, is a kind of letting go of self concern, self preoccupation, in order to meet what's there to be the host for what's here. And one of the crucial things that we're going to be the host for is, is to understand ourselves, to have self understanding. And, and to have it but to have the, the, the discovery of ourselves their understanding of ourselves, conference hospitality, where we're also learning to let go of selfishness in the process to be selfish, you can't really be a host. And so self understanding is a is, is aided by things like meditation by things like mindfulness, where we're awakening our capacity to be attentive to what's happening within us. What's happening here. It's not of course, it's not limited to ourselves. But this is kind of the seat the beginning place, oftentimes, meditation and Buddhism is to understand oneself.
And what are we understanding when we understand ourselves? We're understanding things that are unique to ourselves, that we are contributing to our lives were doing that are healthy, and things that are unhealthy. We begin seeing how much we're distracted and all distractions involve some degree of attachment. And so if we can become have understanding about how attachment works, and recognize it when it's there. Then we and we play host to that What happens to our involvement with attachment? Chances are if part of who we are, is the host, that part is not involved with the attachment. And there starts to be space for the attachment starts to be some degree of non involvement with it, some degree of clarity and seeing it for what it is, and perhaps on some idea that, you know, I don't believe in the attachment anymore, this is not where I want to be. It's not where I want to put my life energy into these attachments. And that's not a critique of them. It's not an aversion to them. But it's a wisdom that comes from self understanding, oh, this is not where I want to be. And so there's, but I'm the host. So there's more opening up more kind of letting go. And the degree to which attachment is closely connected to selfishness, self preoccupation, and self centeredness. The as we let go of attachment, selfishness, and self centeredness fall away. And paradoxically, we become more self aware, but less self centered, more self aware, but less bounded, by definitions of who we are trying to prove who we are, or hold on to who we are. And so we begin looking at self understanding, turning inward and understanding. How does desires work for us? When am I caught up in desires? How to aversions work for me, then, to understand that not about caught in the grip of those? Do I spend a lot of time in in stories? Do I live my life in stories? Do I live my life in opinions? In what's right and wrong? Do I live my life in judgments? And to really see this, and self understanding leads to wisdom. And one of the maybe a little bit unfortunate aspects of all this is that wisdom comes from familiarity. That a lot of the wisdom is we see over and over and over again, we sit down to meditate, be mindful in our life. And we see over and over and over, there's that desire, wow, I had no idea I was living in stories all this time. I have no idea that I was so judgmental, I'm judging every little thing that goes on. I had no idea that I'm living in planning mind all the time. I had no idea that I'm so self referential in my thinking. And by seeing that over and over and over again, something begins to shift, we tend not to be mesmerized, or enchanted with those thoughts and those activities, we start having wisdom about, this is not the place to live, not wisdom about not being committed to it not being so interested in anymore. The wisdom that lets us see it clearly and know an alternative. And the alternative that I'm suggesting today is to be the host to be hospitable. Have hospitality for the stranger. So even this parts of strange about you, maybe your selfishness may be your attachments may be your story, making your opinions, your self righteousness, your fears, your and also what's beautiful about yourself, okay, here, let's hold that in hospitable way. Not to condone it, not to accept it in some way, like, Oh, this is good. And I have to just let it be. But it kind of wait to speak space, open up. So it's kind of like a stranger who comes into your home on a cold rainy day and shivering. And the end is has no attention to you and is self concerned with her cold and their wetness. And as a host, you put them by the fire you give them a warm blanket, you bring them warm tea, and and and the stranger begins to relax and warm up. And it turns out that as they relax more, that the stranger becomes a wonderful person. So the same way with what's difficult and challenging within ourselves.
To to know it to have the self understanding what there it is, and to have the self understanding to know how to be the host and how to hold it. Not exactly an acceptance, but with hospitality without conflict, so that it can relax, and perhaps all attachments, all selfishness, self centeredness, all greed and hatred is just a stranger that needs the chance to relax, to warm up. And so I enter thought and some of these things when they relax and thought, turn into something else, something that may be a surprise. So, important part of this Buddhist practice of ours is self understanding. And, and so, yesterday that topic was self respect, and, and, and so, to always meet ourselves with respect always to cultivate respect, and part of cultivating respect is cultivating, and to be able to be a host to be able to hospitality, to be able to prioritize self understanding, over self preoccupation, over spinning up spinning along with our attachments is a engenders respect, oh, I can see, I can understand, I can be the host here. And so as we have more respect, we can have more capacity to look at ourselves to be present to understand to be the host, that makes more respect, which supports more of this capacity to be present, be here and be fully here in a way that allows for greater understanding. And at some point, this grows, so that there is the self understanding, the self part falls away. And, and we just live mindful and aware, with awareness and understanding available for wherever it's needed, whether it's within or without self understanding. So you are definitely worthy of hospitality, you're definitely worthy of understanding and seeing and knowing. And to do it in the simplest possible way. Maybe without analysis and a lot of thinking. A lot of thinking about yourself is more attachment. So what we're talking about here is not thinking about ourselves, but really almost like a silent presence, that sees and recognizes, oh, that's what's happening. I'm thinking a lot. And then we're hosts to that so we can read some something about that thinking mind can relax and settle. So thank you. And I look forward to sitting again tomorrow in silence with all of you and and continuing on this topic.