2021-09-26-Flowing in the Dharma by Seeing in a New Way
5:43PM Sep 26, 2021
So to do Vipassana, the practice of clear seeing is to see in a new way, and in a new way that begins opening up a whole other possibility for how we can grow and develop and unfold our life can unfold. And it's a marvelous thing to learn a new way. And then to give ourselves to that new way, and let that new way really develop and grow and, and, and change us from the inside out in a useful way. And that's the, the, you know, what the Buddhist path involves. And initially, the new way of seeing is learned initially, it's maybe even provisionally that we hear something and then we try it out like a, we've heard that there's a new way of seeing, I get kind of get a sense of it, I'll do my best and see how it is. And then over time, maybe we'll have evidence that this is actually works really well, it's actually a very useful framework for living our lives and so that it grows and grows. And this growing of momentum around a new way of seeing new way of living is there's a lot of analogies the Buddha gives that have analogies of movement. So movement over stream entering the stream and being carried by the stream or water, rainwater falling on the hillside, and the mountainside. And then the drops roll down and become bigger drops, and they flow into little creek slits. And, and those little free klitz flow into little pools and the pools overflow with enough water and they flow into streams. And the streams keep flowing to larger ponds, when they ever flow that flows further down into becomes rivers and the rivers flow into bigger lakes. And when they overflow, the water just keeps getting bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger and keeps going downhill until eventually it makes its way all the way to the ocean. And so this idea of movement that we're entering in this movement of growth and development and flow. And their rainwater analogy is fascinating because it has two different meanings. It points both to the gross things growing in strength and capacity. And it's also flowing down waters following gravity, rather than resisting gravity, following gravity, the natural way, all the way to the ocean where it doesn't have to flow anymore, it can come to our best of sorts. And this new way of seeing that is encouraged is one way of describing it is a very simple, mindfulness is very simple, ordinary, seeing things in their own in how they are as they appear as they exist in the moment. without, you know, as we do mindfulness practice without reference to the past to the future, and without reference to. And this is where the more difficult without reference to the egoistic self, without refuge to ref reference to the ideas we build up around who we are and what we need and who we aren't. And the judgments we have about ourselves the ways we undermine ourselves with negative self talk, the way that we have delusions of grandeur about how wonderful we are, and we just allow experience to just be itself without any reference to itself. But we see it clearly. This isn't necessarily how we're supposed to live our life at all time, past and future a valuable enriched riches life as well. But in meditation, that's not what we're trying to do. Meditation is trying to really discover something very radically new, and allow this stream inside of us to get bigger and flow and to be carried along by the Dharma stream.
And so it does involve seeing in a new way, and, and a fascinating way of presenting this is that it involves seeing our suffering in a new way. And some of you probably are tired of Buddhists always talking about suffering, suffering this suffering that and maybe you even kind of tune out a little bit as soon as you hear the word suffering, it's repeated so much. What's fascinating is that the word Pali word for suffering Duka, the literal meaning of bid is not suffering, the literal meaning of it is pain. And we often and, and it's by kind of by interpretation. By application, it's involves kind of psychological pain and emotional pain that we would like to call suffering. And, but it's useful to think of it as pain. And what happens if we see, so called suffering or the big sufferings of our life, as pain rather than suffering, it's begins to maybe take remove bit omit the hegemony of self, the ways in which self will
invest in the self in this, we get invested in the pain in the pain, we get interested in pain, we get infatuated with the pain we get, all these ways we get involved with a pain. But one of the ways we get involved in it is we overlay attachments and reactivity on top of whatever pain we're looking at. So that there might be emotional pain, there might be psychological pain, there might be physical pain, existential pain, all kinds of pains come along with being alive. And then we are we have, we overlay our ideas on top of it, it shouldn't be there. This means that I'm living life the wrong way, I'm doing something wrong, that I feel pain, I need to be the one who now gets rid of it, who this is happening to me, I'm the victim of the of it all. There is there's a pain of loss. And then we we refer that loss to all the ways in which I thought I was going to live my life and build up my wonderful life is not possible. Now. It's sad, and it's you know that this happens, but there can be a lot of extra investment of self what's in it for me, myself and mine, which is separate from the pain of a loss. Now it's the pain of losing a future, which is a little different than we imagined, then there's still a particular loss we have. So there, the grief sometimes can get quite complicated when it involves, there can be anguish, over the pain, because we add so much meaning to it, and so much projections into the future, this is always going to be this way, it's always been this way, I'll never make it, never figure it out, this is too much for me. And no one's caring for me, no one's taking care of me. And I feel so lonely in my dismay, and my despair. So I don't want to be little or how difficult it is to human suffering, it's quite challenging. But I want to try to get across the idea that there are certain layers overlay over overlaying a certain degree of extra baggage on top of it, or reactivity or commentary. And maybe that's very, maybe just a veneer on top of it. And so maybe it's not very much. But for some people, it's actually not so you know, the overlay is actually the primary quality of what makes the pain suffering. And so the suggestion is to see a new way. And maybe it's a outrageous suggestion is that to see our suffering, whatever we have whatever we call it, but to don't caught not call it suffering and not call it grief, not call it anguish not call it dismay, or depression or, or anxiety and all these things that we are now have gotten used to calling it it's it's valuable to see it that way I'm not going to I don't want to diminish the importance of seeing clearly. But then when we sit to meditate, it might be a time in our life, where we can let it be very simple. And just see it as pain and make it that simple. And seeing a justice pain might help us to begin relaxing the mental work activity of these overlays we put on top of it. The way we bill helps us build a story of me myself and mine. And we might start seeing that that that is some of those layers lighten up. The pain is still there, but it's not as intense. It's not Less debilitating. It has a whole different quality of it. So I'll give you a simple example I don't want to again, I don't want to be a little how difficult life is to give a simple example. But simple makes me be clear that, that I learned was very powerful learning for me. So that's why I like telling it, that when I first started meditating, I was practicing Zen where you weren't supposed to move during the 40 minutes of meditation, but my body had not been conditioned to sit in this posture. And so my knees were on fire, they hurt a lot. But I wasn't supposed to move. And, and so I had a lot of intense suffering around this, I felt self pity, I felt fear, I felt upset, that was angry with myself, I was angry at others, I was
feeling as impossible. Why me and you know, in very impatient, frustrated, all kinds of layers of things were happening. And, and because I kept sitting this way, I slowly began to notice that there was a difference between experiencing the pain in and of itself, and experiencing the pain with a self pity, and all the different aspects of it. And if I was able, if I had all the extra stuff, the self pity, the impatience, the frustration, then then it was, you know, intense psychological suffering, emotional suffering. But if I dropped the self pity, the pain remained. But it didn't become as bad. It's like headspace had breathing room, it eased up. And sometimes the pain would become quite manageable. Until I kind of forgot about kind of putting aside the self pity, he would come roaring back, and the knee pain would get intense again. And I saw over and over again, I was how much overlay I put on it, and slowly began to kind of simplify and simplify and not add all these layers on top. So that, to me, was incredibly inspiring, edit, give, give, give birth, to a kind of inspiration, of a faith, trust and confidence that this was a useful to shift how I saw the pain. And so this radical idea from this talk today, is whenever you have suffering, and you're going to try to do take a dharmic approach to it, like in meditation. See what the shift is, if you stop calling it, depression, anxiety, despair, grief, sadness, without any diminishing of it, without any disrespect for it, of how, what's happening for you, but simply shift the orientation to see it as pain, and then breathe with that and see if some of the layers that are extra baggage on it begins to settle. If you get inspired, like I, I was buy that, or have trust or confidence in it, that gives birth. that's similar to what the Buddha said that learning to see pain, suffering in a new way. through practice through the eyes of the past, not clear seeing in this way. That he said that gives birth to faith through confidence, that kind of inspiration. If then you don't just get inspired. But with that faith, that confidence to say, Okay, now I'm going to start practicing this new way of seeing, I'm going to stabilize it, and I'm going to use it more often. And really kind of give myself to develop this new way of seeing. That's when the stream begins to flow. And at first, it might be just a trickling little stream up in the mountain. But if we want to get this stream to be to grow and develop, we have to practice it. And so then we keep start practicing, we have this inspiration. And an inspiration can fuel the practice, confidence, confident, confused, fuel the practice, rather than continually falling back into the old patterns that can give rise to gladness to a delight that we have a practice. Wow, this is cool. I didn't know that I could live this new way. It's hard. It's challenging. I doubt it at times. But there are times when it's really great. And I think I'm on a path so So the Buddha said that once that faith is there, and we and we continue to practice without the practice and upon me, nothing will happen, then with the practice, then there comes a delight, a gladness or a satisfaction or a feeling this is right.
As the practice continues, and you start getting more evidence that this works as we get into the flow of that stream of practice, and it becomes we are feeling those extreme getting bigger, and the stream starts to have a little bit more momentum. And initially, it seems like we're doing the work with time, it just seems like oh, now it's, it's, it's the practice is doing me and kind of flowing along here. And, and, and that, being involved and being really engaged, having been able to put aside a lot of the distracted mind. And the undistracted mind is really into doing this practice seeing a new way. There's a kind of physiological delight, joy that comes. And the Buddha said that if we keep practicing with delight with from the delight there grows at joy. As we set keep practicing, it's settled into this and really start feelings, the beginning, the fruit of this is really work, this is good. The practice begins kind of growing, the stream gets a stream of lands into a large lake, that's calm and very tranquil. And, and tranquility sets in, like there's certain ease certain like, Oh, I have something here, that really works, I don't have to be so agitated or so anxious anymore. Because I have this practice, the practice really helps me to see in a new way, I can't always do it. But just knowing I have the practice can make us less agitated. As we keep practicing, and that tranquility fills up, it goes over the banks and bicker creates a different river that says moody remember this big rivers get bigger and come down off the mountain into the rivers and the plains, they get big rivers can be very quiet. Whereas in the mountains, it's quite noisy rapids and boulders go over. So it gets quieter, it becomes something called happiness, and pleasure or deep sublime feeling, just as feel so good to be in the flow. That the Buddha said gives birth to concentration to really be present really be really here that the Buddha that the Buddha said, gives birth to seeing things as they are, which is now to get confirmation, a real kind of qualitative different kinds of affirmation, confirmation, of the value of seeing in this new way. And now we see directly the evidence or this really is significant. And to see things because things are constantly flowing and changing this natural world. to really see this flow and moving along and seeing how nothing gets stuck in nothing. Nothing gets frozen. Unless we bring the baggage of the self and the attachments to it, then things get solidified. But to see that without that baggage without that overlays that things just flow that will flow they'll natural inconstancy and movement. And so not only do we feel like we're in the stream of practice, but now we see this three we see the flow This feels so good. So right so much clarity that there starts to be the Buddha said gets more goats gets born is now at this interest or a disenchantment with the old way of seeing and the old way of seeing through the ego egos egoistically or self centered Lee or with all the baggage and concerns and, and, or even some of the old cultural ways familiar ways we've learned to always see our life or seeing you know, maybe that's not so accurate or not so useful to that lens. And so we start becoming a disinterested disenchanted with it. And it begins to relax and fade away and that gives birth to the further of this fading away. So seeing things as they are gives birth to a decision. Dress to disenchantment, which gives birth to
this movement of fading away of our attachments. And when the attachments have faded away enough, then who knows when Enough is enough. But when there are enough, something, let's go. And we have liberation, liberation that flows further into a deep understanding of what this liberation is all about. And, and what it thinks it's about is now not just a confirmation of the seeing in a new way. But now, inhabiting a new way of seeing in a whole different like becomes like who we are, rather than something that we introduce into our life. So remarkably, 2500 years ago, the Buddha and the people around him who were practicing this, you know, really looking at their minds to understanding their minds understanding how to practice with these minds and hearts, we have discovered this amazing tools and capacities of the mind. That then they described in I think, quite inspiring ways. And, and the description I use today is something called liberative, dependent arising, how liberation comes dependent on certain conditions being in place. And there's 12 steps, and they are born on the basis of seeing suffering in a new way. That gives birth to faith. Faith gives birth to delight, that light gives birth to Joy, joy gives birth to tranquility, tranquility gives birth to happiness, happiness gives birth to concentration, Samadhi. Samadhi gives birth to seeing things as they are seeing things as they are, it gives birth to disinterested in attachments, disinterested this disenchantment gives birth to fading away of attachments. The fading wave of attachments is the condition that leads to the ending of attachments, which is called liberation. And once there's liberation, that's not the story doesn't end there. But then there's understanding what has happened. And really understanding now we're living in the world, with new eyes seeing a new way. And all this depends on itself, the whole list depends on practicing. The practice we do is what, that's the rain. That's and I love the analogy of rain, because it's just drops, little drops, moment by moment that we're adding. And those drops are not inconsequential moments of mindfulness. But the continuity of it more and more over and over again. So that it's, you know, not just the occasional drop, but it becomes a kind of, you know, lots of rain falling on the parched ground. And, and then overflowing and, and building up the, the volume that allows the river to get bigger and bigger and bigger. So practice based on seeing in a new way. And so you might consider is there a new way to see that you could try out? Is there a new way of seeing you'll do provisionally meaning you don't have to accept that this is the absolute true way of seeing things. But maybe it's just a different orientation, a different perspective. And to see without any reference to me, myself and I, without reference and past and future, just see pain, see suffering just as pain, it's very simply and see if that begins to loosen up the crust, the solidification of all this extra baggage extra layers that we add on top of the difficulties of this human life. And if we, those difficulties, don't have all these extra layers. Maybe it's easier. And maybe we'll be inspired to practice because it's really worthwhile. Once we get the start getting a glimpse of this new way of seeing, it's really worthwhile to do what it takes to let this glimpse become bigger and more a regular part of our life. So to see in a new way be posted on
May you see in a new way and may we as a community and share that with each other and see each other in this new way. And I think that will end up with tremendous delight the appreciation for each other. Thank you very much