2021-08-30-Patience (2 of 5) Gentle Perserverence
3:05PM Aug 30, 2021
Hello, and welcome to the continuation of our little series on patience. Today's topic is another form of patience, I call it gentle perseverance. Perseverance is just it's the small little ongoing step by step by step of engagement involvement doing the gentle is to do it without strain without strife without resistance, just kind of the simple steps, go keep going. And in this way, I'd say it's sometimes helpful to appreciate that in the Buddha's teaching, that action was extremely important that he's even his teaching sometimes call is called a teaching of action. And that means a variety of different things. But one of the things that I like to think of it is, is that it is not a passive practice, even though for a lot of modern Western practitioners, who are over striving, overdoing, over analyzing over critical of themselves, that the lesson of kind of just letting things be and not doing is such a powerful and useful medicine. But it's the medicine for the Buddha, I think that for him, that there's an element in which the practice is always an activity of a little bit of a kind of doing, but a doing, which is an undoing of stress and strain and tension and criticism and, you know, striving, but it is a kind of doing. And, and sitting in meditation, mindfulness can be experienced as a non doing just allowing awareness to be there. But even that is a very subtle doing, because chances are, we have to keep coming back to allowing to receiving to being and that's the doing, that's the action. And, and so whatever the action, there's is a very simple action in practice. So today, in the meditation, I suggested, the action of every time you exhale, noticing if you're thinking and if it's easy enough to let go of those thoughts. And, and so there's always a little bit something waking up being present, being here for the next thing for the next thing. And, and so there's a little engagement, full effort and work that's involved. As we get familiar with mindfulness, that work is better, often better than the alternative. What the mind does, you know, the spinning off in. And so this amazing capacity we have for gentle perseverance, just keep doing a practice, and other walks of life or other situations in life. Sometimes, you know, perseverance, doing it over and over again, being willing to fail and coming back and starting over again, can be a huge strength, a huge support for a wise life a good life. But, so, this gentle perseverance is useful in so many areas in life, but in practice, gentle perseverance, not to be looking for the big dramatic experiences in meditation. But being very content and patient with a simple ongoing practice, moment, by moment, just way showing up and being mindful of this being present for this, here now. Or in little bit larger scale, meditating every day, gentle perseverance of everyday no matter what's sitting down to meditate. And even if it's nothing more than getting into your meditation posture for a minute, every day, this gentle perseverance of touching into this wonderful kind of repository or, or special place where certain kinds of special attention and calm and settledness you can be. So this so we keep doing, keep doing, keep doing. And, and it's this gentle perseverance and practice in day to day ordinary way. It's represented or enacted in small little steps. A small little things we do, just being a little bit more attentive, more present coming back more often.
And, but small little steps can make huge difference. into the future. One of the, you know, if you take two parallel lines, that would they would go parallel on forever. But if you take and nudge one of them little bit to the side, then initially, you know, just infinitesimal, you might not see that they're separating from each other. But as you over time, the distance between them becomes greater and greater and greater. So if you make a smell, to sometimes a small change those ends, keep up this small change, that can, over time can make a huge difference for our life, and can transform it in beneficial ways. And so this gentle perseverance, not giving up, not being discouraged, or maybe being discouraged, but have the patience to do it. Anyway, just keep showing up to sit to meditate, keep showing up to be present for the next moment. And, and this very much applies to meditation practice, that maybe that's the place where it's most you know, the easiest or the, the most kind of the ideal place to practice this gentle perseverance. Just keep coming back for the next breath, this breath, this breath, this breath, sometimes we have all these issues and problems and difficult things that happen in our lives. And there's something about the continuity, the ballast, of their grounding, the sense of, of stability, that just being with the breath, through it all, through it all, that allows so many things to settle, and allows us not to get wrapped up in other things or be reactive to other things. And so it's not to deny anything, but the gentle perseverance, with the breathing, with the breathing, with the breathing, or the gentle perseverance, of being mindful, attentive, recognizing all this is happening, this is happening, my mind is afraid, my mind is afraid. There's fear, there's fear. And in that little recognition, it might be actively even those words in your mind. When you follow up the words with just feeling and sensing what's happening more fully, perhaps, that in this simple mindfulness, you begin finding that you're not wrapped up in it or are caught by it or impacted as fully by the fear or the anxiety or the desire, you know, whatever it might be, just stick a keep steady, recognizing, recognizing that this is what happened, this is what's happening. And so this gentle perseverance in Buddhist practice, takes can take many forms. It could be a gentle perseverance, of not giving into anger, just 111 act of speech after another, just okay, I'm not gonna say it now. I'm not gonna say this now. Not now. Not now. And to say, I'm not no longer no longer going to be angry no longer say, some kind of me mean things anyone, ever again, when do we make these big commitments or big ideas? Sometimes it's much harder for the mind to cooperate and participate. But sometimes, it's the moment a moment steps where we can really, really counts the most. And so in that's not saying that not this not saying that mean word? Nope, nope. Nope. Gentle perseverance. Or a strong desire arises. And Nope, nope, I'm not getting into that. I know what happens. This is not healthy for me or good for others. Nope. Nope. And, and a gentle perseverance is just is repeating it over and over again until something settles, the whole thing shifts. And so it's not a big struggle. It's not meant to be a big a wrestling match. It's just like it because it's so it's just these little steps, moment by moment. Now, now, now. So to be patient, with if we're doing things which are useful and healthy and appropriate and necessary, to persevere, to not resist not procrastinate, not give up, but just get a steady and gentle steadiness just showing up showing up. And for me, I don't know how it is for some of you, but this word idea of gentleness
implies that it doesn't require heroic effort that will always or strong effort or it just just move in that direction. Don't hesitate, don't give up. Just take a little move in that direction, keep doing it, keep doing it. And, and certainly in Buddhist practice, and meditation practice, probably gentle perseverance carries the day. Because any other effort that you make, probably is agitating, probably, will not really be sustainable in the long term, but the gentle perseverance, it may be a sustainable, engaging, maybe becomes self rewarding, and maybe begins to shift that line just a little bit. So that over time, it makes a huge difference in your life. Maybe you don't see it in one day, or one week or one month. But the gentle perseverance, gentle continuity, just doing and doing and doing, they can be revolutionary, in once in one's life. so gentle, perseverance, gentle. And the person what we persevere in depends on the context, we're in gentle forgiveness, gentle kindness, compassion, just whatever is needed. Gentle, keep doing it. So we don't succumb don't collapse into states of mind and thoughts and ideas, which are not really helpful for us. And finally, I'll say that the alternative sometimes the continuity, the perseverance, of distracted thought of, of aversive thoughts, of desires, thoughts of selfish thoughts of thoughts, it's, you know, victim thoughts, the perseverance of those, you know, they also have an effect over time and slowly and perceptively the line, the parallel lines move in a different direction, that maybe not so useful. So when it's very helpful to be careful with what is what what the mind does regularly and continuously, because it really has a big effect over time. And so once you have a sense of what practices and what a wise and wholesome way of living is that gentle perseverance, gentle step by step, ordinary step, ordinary movement in the direction of what's wholesome and good. And Edie can be done and it can make a huge difference. So thank you very much and and tomorrow, we'll do patients under insult, which is a much more difficult one, but it has its tremendous benefit. Thank you.