How It Is

More unseasonal weather today. With visitors arriving one would prefer things to be different. But then again, one nearly always prefers things to be other than they are, and this attitude can mean that we miss the opportunities in what is actually here:

When we explore this mind-state of dukkha, we find that it is created by a deep aversion to being with How It Is right now. This silent, unconscious war with How It Is unwittingly drives much of our behaviour: We reach for the pleasant. We hate the unpleasant. We try to arrange the world so that we have only pleasant mind-states, and not unpleasant ones. We try to get rid of this pervasive state of unsatisfactoriness in whatever way we can – by changing things “out there”.  By changing the world.

Thoreau, through his quiet investigation of his own mental states in the quiet at Walden Pond discovered this very same phenomenon of underlying unsatisfactoriness. He called it “desperation” –  “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation….” Thoreau’s quiet desperation is precisely dukkha. He saw that ordinary mind seems chronically ill at ease with How It Is.

Stephen Cope, The Wisdom of Yoga

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