Everyday hassles

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The subtle suffering in our lives may seem unimportant. But if we attend to the small ways that we suffer, we create a context of greater ease, peace, and responsibility, which can make it easier to deal with the bigger difficulties when they arise.

Gil Fronsdal, Living Two Traditions

Seeing our attachments

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Most practice gets caught in the area of fiddling with our environments or our minds. ” My mind should be quiet”. Our mind doesn’t matter; what matters is non-attachment to the activities of the mind. And our emotions are harmless unless they dominate us – that is, if we are attached to them – then they create dis-harmony for everyone. The first problem in practice is to see that we are attached. As we do consistent, patient practice we begin to know that we are nothing but attachments; they rule our lives. But we never lose an attachment by saying it has to go. Only as we gain true awareness of its true nature does it quietly and imperceptibly wither away; like a sandcastle with waves rolling over, it just smooths out and finally Where is it? What was it? …

Charlotte Joko Beck

photo curt smith

An ocean of fear


Fear and anxiety evolved to keep us from physical danger. Our brains use the same mechanisms when it comes to emotional danger also, and depending on the upbringing we have, we can find that we expend a lot of energy each day dealing with fear. This underlying fear is not easy to work with; however, acknowledging it and becoming aware of our instinct to run away or cover it up with distractions, relationships and busyness, is a necessary starting point. We practice looking at what scares us and opening to all that life offers. We develop a greater compassion towards ourselves and our confidence can grow.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that we live out our lives in an ocean of fear. 

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Stillness through non-interference.

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Ajahn Chah would  explain that the mind’s nature is still, yet it’s flowing. It’s flowing, yet it is still. He would use the word “citta” for the knowing mind, the mind of awareness. The citta itself is totally still. It has no movement; it is not related to all that arises and ceases. It is silent and spacious. Mind objects — sights, sounds, smell, taste, touch, thoughts, and emotions — flow through it. Problems arise because the clarity of the mind gets entangled with sense impressions. By contemplating our own experience, we can make a clear distinction between the mind that knows (citta) and the sense impressions that flow through it. By refusing to get entangled with any sense impressions, we find refuge in that quality of stillness, silence, and spaciousness, which is the mind’s own nature. This policy of  non-interference allows everything and is disturbed by nothing.

Ajahn Amaro, Small Boat