2021-09-28-Dhamma (2 of 5) The Five Areas of Selfing
3:32PM Sep 28, 2021
So today I continue the discussion about the fourth foundation of mindfulness. Then there are five different areas to attend to in this in this foundation. Yesterday I talked about the, the hindrances, the five hindrances today will be the, what's called the five aggregates. Tomorrow, the six sense doors than the seven factors of awakening, and then the Four Noble Truths. So all these wonderful lists. And there's a progression through them. And the progression from yesterday is that the hindrances are, we think of them as a kind of though, what keeps us distracted in the world of desires and aversions, and our relationship to pleasure and pain and things of the world. The alternative word for sensual pleasure, the first one that appears in your suit does is in another another list, same list, but with the word instead of sensual pleasures is avaricious pneus. So wanting to acquire, especially things of other people or acquire things. And so it has a lot to do with our relationship to things and desires and pleasures, and kind of you think of it a little bit that, you know, kind of what the self can get what the self could not get what the self wants and doesn't want. When that kind of desire settles down and quiets, then we're more present for ourselves, we then at some point, encounter the next layer of attachment, less layer of discovery, preoccupation, that interferes with a deeper settling into peace. And that has to do around me, myself and mine self concern, identification, where we take different parts of our psychophysical being, and we hold on to that, or we assume or conceive of that, as being this is, this is mine, this is me, and this is my true self. And so something as simple as, as seemingly innocent as saying, you know, this is my hand. Now propriate it as being mine. And in some sense it is. But when I say my my hand, and then it's associated with me, and maybe maybe I think my hand is the best hand in the world are the worst kind of hand in the world. And so here I am holding it up in front of us, you're all of you. And if I'm attached to this as my hand, then I could be either completely proud of showing it off or completely miserable, that you're seeing this thing that's a mine. And so the idea of my hand, is can be innocent, but it can come along with a lot of baggage that that baggage is called selfing. Or it could be that the, you know that rather than it's me, the hand is me. And so if someone brushes against it in a hard way, they're, they're kind of offending me, because the hand is me. And so we're taking what's innocent enough. And assuming that this represents me as a person, or I take my hand as being my true self, that's the essence of who I am handedness. And, and so, and I'm ready to argue with anyone or I'm ready to insist that this is my handedness and protect my hand at all cost. I don't want it to die or get old and because that's essentially who I am. So maybe that's a silly, silly example. But I'm hoping that you can apply this to yourself that there's this action of selfing extreme forms, it takes the word world the word they have a form of conceit.
Very strong attachment to self at as lots to identification, that they're not identifying who we are, if we're you know, some simple way a man or a woman, neither man or woman, trans, gender norcan, non conforming all kinds of other options. But if, if we get attacked, we there's a way of kind of leaning into it too much, holding on to it. And and clinging and holding tight in such a way that as the vagaries of life encounter us That it either challenges that heap attachment or reinforces it. And so there's selfing going on. So in the Buddhist teaching, then the idea is to be sensitive to the contraction, or the stickiness, or the resist resistance are the pushing this, the neediness, that seems to be related to this idea of self. And it can be experienced very simply, as sometimes as a kind of contraction, tightness. reader pressure, it can be experienced as wanting is a not one thing, it can be experienced as ideas that we gets, we swirl around in. And a lot of these selfing does, in fact have to do with ideas and concepts we live in, sometimes so deep that we don't even see we're doing them. You know, for example, if you come to a place where there's chairs, and then there's lots of chairs to sit in, and lots of empty chairs, and it'd be waiting at the doctor's office or something. And then you have to go to the bathroom. So you've been sitting in one chair for a long wait to see the doctor. And then you have to go to the bathroom and you go to the bathroom, you come back. And lo and behold, someone's sitting in the same chair that you were sitting in, and their initial reaction, and how could they be sitting in my chair. And, and there's identification with a chair and me, that might arouse anger, that's the person sitting in it, while there's lots of other chairs around. And so this can happen at all kinds of small ways throughout the day. And so, so to begin being sensitive, this movement of selfing, that's possible, we're no longer you know, caught up in in the more coarser surface desires of wanting and not wanting, and the confusion that comes from that, the hindrances. And, and they're very interesting, what the Buddho wants us to do, is to recognize in our simplest forms of experience, the five different ways by different kinds of foundations for what he thinks is called constructing yourself. Sometimes it's the body, the form, sometimes it's based on our feelings. Sometimes it's based on our ideas of things, our concepts, are usually called perceptions in English, the third aggregate, and sometimes has to do with the stories we make up the impulses, the intentions, the motivations, the opinions, we have, the fourth aggregate, and the fifth one is consciousness, the idea that we can be aware that we can no, some people very strongly associated that with a feeling almost of emptiness I am and of course, that's who I am. So, these are the different areas that people sometimes focus on in the construction of identity, in the construction of self in the preoccupation with self. And you might spend, do it as an exercise independent, maybe today, maybe, you know, a period of time and each one each of these five aggregates, and see, you know, how much self concern is there around your body and what you look like and bodily pleasure and displeasure, and how much preoccupation and selfing is connected to how you feel your feelings. And, you know, you feeling happy or sad, all kinds of ways. And how much of preoccupation in selfing self concerned about my opinions, my history, my story, my biography, my plans, my desires, and to the whole kind of inner world of, of, you know, the world that we construct with our mind, and then consciousness, these are the five aggregates. So this is where the Buddho wants us to look. But he wants us to look and see this for a particular reason. Not to not not to negotiate, not to
abandon it, not to let go of it even not to make a problem out of it, but to see it clearly. And to see it this way, to be quiet enough to see that each of these five areas in them when we don't want to, we don't want we don't we don't cling to him too much, or don't overlay our ideas on a too much our preoccupation can be experienced as something which is flowing, something that's arising and passing something that appears and disappears, something that's very in constant change. Changing fluxing moving. And it's kind of like a river of our life that are being as a river of changing sensations, experiences, thoughts, emotions. And the idea is to relax into that river. And, and float or be massaged by yet are settled in, and attachment yourself and selfing is like, you know, taking somewhat a bucket of that water out, and sometimes freezing it and saving it for the future. But it's no longer the river. And so, so the idea is not so much to, you know, attack or feel upset about the selfing that goes on, but rather, to look more deeply and see that underneath the self concern, can we notice how it takes us out of the flow of life, the movement of the present moment, at the present moment is a river. Notice how that takes us out by through retrospective thinking, through fantasy through being caught up in disk, conversations in our head, and, and the end such things. So the five areas is the body, feelings, that basic, simple concepts, ideas that we live by. The fourth one is the stories we live by the more complicated constructions, mental constructions about our lives and motivations. And the fifth is consciousness. And you don't necessarily have to remember them all. But you might become sensitive to how much selfing goes on. I think for many people, a primary subject of main character, much of their thinking, and with fuels, their thinking, is the self is me, myself and mine, were kind of either center stage, or somehow important in the thoughts, the concerns we have, and just watching the thought stream, and recognizing how much self is in there and it's selfing and ideas of self is a fascinating study. And, and but to do this as this mindfulness exercise is to try to see it as as selfing but see it as a, as a, as a reification a solidification of the ongoing river of, of life that we live in. And in doing so start experienced some freedom, some independence from those attachment to self. So thank you. And I realized this week is a bit of a you know, whirlwind tour of these five different areas for the fourth foundation. And but maybe you know, the hopefully it's useful to have a general sense, those of you who don't know, of these, of these very important part of mindfulness practice, and maybe some other time we can go in some more depth with each of them. So thank you all very much.