2021-09-29-Dhamma (3 of 4) The Entanglements
3:01PM Sep 29, 2021
So, this week, I'm going through the 5x mindfulness exercises that are taught in the discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness. And these are I call them exercises, these are ways of practicing in order to develop a heightened sense of mindfulness, so that mindfulness is established. And so it's kind of the means. And the means to be mindful is in a sense to be mindful. But there are particular ways or emphasis is that are given. And in the fourth foundation is beginning to pay attention to either the way we get entangled, and things get caught up and attached, or the process by which we get free and liberated. And, and so the three exercises around being entangled, being caught, and they're going going from coarser, maybe more activated, more conceptual, more story centered, more, more complex world that we live in, to the simpler and simpler. And so it started off with the complex world of our attachments, to food to our desires, and aversions, and to the things where we desire and have aversion towards, and that could be anything complicated things in the world, and ideas and, and things don't get along. Once we stop getting so concerned in the world, of objects and things in a sense, including our own comfort, then we settle down. And there's a next layer I talked about yesterday, which is the way in which we identify the way we get involved with things based on me, myself and mine. As we get quieter still, and there's less coarser this more subtle when there's less baggage, less complicated ideas and concepts, no concept of self anymore. We're left to with simple sense experience in the present moment. And we're not thinking about the future in the past, we're just really present here, and we hear a sound, we feel a body sensation, we recognize there's a thought. And these are all considered very simple. Sense recognitions. And we don't usually think of the mind door as being sense. But whatever ability, we have to recognize the simplest recognition, what's happening in the mind, before the complexities around it, and reactions to it, is called, you know, the sense experience. And so with the eye, there's the object of the eye, that's not the things we see. And then the Buddha talked about, the entanglement between them, the knot that gets formed, how we get knotted up with it. So there are three things happening. There's the eyesight, there's the ability to see the eye, the eye sight that sees, there's a thing that we see. And then kind of imagine that between the object of sight and, and the eye, there's things get knotted up. Of course, the knot is in our brain, and our mind, but we get involved we get attached to it, we get caught up in, we get it sticky, we start thinking about it, wanting it reacting to it. And it's not a complicated ideas of the world. like winning the lottery. It's just in the moment as we go about. It's something very simple. There's a sound and and then we recognize the sound is a car. And then we might get entangled with it with smarter thinking and thinking about the sound and, and or not liking it because it's unpleasant or liking it because it's pleasant and wanting more of it or wanting less of it. And so, getting knotted up in the in most English translations, they translate this word as a fetter and I don't use the word fetter in my ordinary English life. I don't know if maybe some of you do. But the Pali word has the meaning of being knotted up or not. And so I'd like to I like just nodded up. And,
and so it's now recognizing that there's always there can be two things. There's the experience we're having, and there's a way that we relate to it. And the way we relate to it might be not free might be free of any entanglement. We can engage in it, we can think about it, we can For things without being entangled, but we also can be attached and Tangled, there can be attachment and, and it can be very, very subtle. If you just simply simply start the meditation, simply start thinking about something that's happening, you've left the flow the present moment, and you're now become, you know, you've kind of got a gun, maybe maybe the word like nod or entanglement seems too big. But we've gotten it's gotten sticky, we got leaning into it, and we're kind of lost something. In the process of thinking about it, we lost our mindfulness in our present moment experience. So, so the Buddha says that talks about how this exercise, when one is aware, that there's seeing, when aware, when is aware of what is being seen, and then aware of what that relationship is, the entanglement in particular, how we're caught by it, or reactive to it. And, and then, and so we know when it's present, the fetter, they not, we know what it's like when it's not there. And this distinction between recognizing the presence of something and the absence something of something is very important. In mindfulness meditation, we often emphasize being recognizing what's happening in the present, which kind of always gives a subject Something is happening that we're aware of. But in fact, sometimes it's important to be mindful of absence, not all the time. But when we've been attached to something, it's valuable to take some time to experience what it's like to be unattached. The freedom that comes. So to be knotted up, the know the experience of being unknotted, the ease that we breathe more easily, there's more sense of openness, spaciousness, lightness, all kinds of whatever way it might be experienced. So that it registers and we kind of begin to those channels to that kind of unentangled, mint starts becoming more available to us, because we let it register more deeply. And so the Buddha talked about noticing the presence of this, these knots, the absence of them, no, and then being present enough in the moment that we can see that not that hasn't arisen yet, does arise, we notice the arising of it, oh, here, I get knotted up. And that takes a sharp mindfulness to really be here and say, Oh, I can watch the process. We don't wait until we find ourselves knotted up, we watch the process. And this is what benefit can come when the mindfulness gets established well enough, in the present moment, that there's a kind of a sense of flow, in the present a sense of rising and passing, appearing and disappearing. The river of experience that's happening here now, that as we stay present for that, we notice when we leave the flow, when we get involved in something, and we can watch the beginning of that, because it's part of the flow originally. And then any talks also about then, knowing that the knot has been abandoned, let go of, he doesn't say to let go of it. But I think maybe it's implied, but they were aware of it and letting go of it as well. That it's gone, we've let go of it, it's not there, so that we can benefit from experiencing the absence of it. So there is some. So I like to say that, if it's easy to let go of something like a knot, let go of the knot. We're not necessarily letting go and things in the world, we're letting go of that entanglement that's between us and the thing. And then take time to be aware of what that absence of entanglement is like. If we do this regularly and strongly
a special QA time will come where in practice where we have a clear sense that the entanglement is not going to arise again. At least not in this meditation on this state of mind this kind of presence we have and and this clarity and confidence Wow, I'm so settled I'm so present I'm so so much peace and and self awareness awareness going on here. That no way am I going to get entangled. That requires a kind of a coarser activity and kind of choice in involvement that I'm simply not inclined to do now. Do you really feel that? Wow, I, you know, I'm not inclined to to get any entangled again, it's like, No, I'm safe, at least for this meditation for this next few minutes. And to feel that possibility to know that this is possible is can be life changing, because we know that life doesn't require attachment doesn't require being entangled. So at first, we were disentangling ourselves from the coarser big ideas of the world, the things we want and don't want that involve stories and ideas and complicated concepts that are, you know, that are the hindrances. And then we do something more subtle than that, which is their whole way in which we attach to self. And then we get more subtle, in, in just our relationship to sense contact. And it might seem interesting, and might seem not so valuable to be aware of this more base level of, of sense contact. But it turns out that some of the deepest attachments we have arise out of the attachment to these basic sense contacts, it sets the stage for all the other attachments and sufferings we have. So it's very powerful to kind of settled enough to really track it. And, and as we start getting more sensitive and aware of the entanglements and the absence of them, then we're poised to be aware of some of the benefits that come on the path to disentanglement on the path to really becoming free. And that's a topic for tomorrow. And so for the next 24 hours, you may be used this concept of a knot or an entanglement and go through the day recognizing as much as you can your entanglements, either while you're doing it also afterwards, you might kind of reflect back over the day and say, well, where was I entangled and caught? Sometimes it's hard to see in the present moment, but sometimes, retrospectively, we can see Oh, I see and, and see what you learned about yourself in that process. So thank you.