Stillness in the wind

I did a retreat last weekend with Ajahn Amaro who emphasized gaining insight into the ever-present dynamic of “I, me and mine”, and developing a mind which is capable of observing these labels

Enlightenment, liberation, depends on the recognition of the radical separateness of awareness – “the one who knows” – and the world of the five khandhas (Sanskrit: skandhas)…The key is training the heart to rest in the various dimensions of knowing, and not becoming entangled in the khandhas.

Here are some words from Ajahn Chah that encompass [these] themes:

This mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful… really peaceful! Just like a leaf which is still as long as no wind blows. If a wind comes up the leaf flutters. The fluttering is due to the wind – the “fluttering” is due to those sense impressions; the mind follows them. If it doesn’t follow them, it doesn’t “flutter.” If we know fully the true nature of sense impressions we will be unmoved.

Our practice is simply to see the Original Mind. We must train the mind to know those sense impressions, and not get lost in them; to make it peaceful.

Ajahn Amaro, Like Oil and Water

[The 5 khandhas, or in Sanskrit,  skandhas, are form, feeling-tone, perception, thoughts and emotions, and consciousness.]

The faces of others

You must unlearn the habit of being someone else or nothing at all, of imitating the voices of others and mistaking the faces of others for your own.

One thing is given to man which makes him into a god, which reminds him that he is a god: to know destiny.

When destiny comes to a man from outside, it lays him low, just as an arrow lays a deer low. When destiny comes to a man from within, from his innermost being, it makes him strong, it makes him into a god…

Hermann Hesse, If the War Goes on: Reflections on War and Politics

Take the leap

There are second thoughts happening each time you act.

There is hesitation, and from that hesitation or gap, you can go backward or forward. Changing the flow of karma happens in that gap. So the gap is very useful.

It is in the gap that you give birth to a new life.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation

Sit back and watch

To live in the present moment requires a change in our inner posture. Instead of expanding or shoring up our fortress of “I” – the ego – which culture and often therapy try to help us do, contemplation waits to discover what this “I” consists of. What is this “I” that I take so seriously?…

Thomas Keating teaches a beautifully simple exercise to use in contemplation. Imagine yourself sitting on the bank of a river. Observe each of your thoughts coming along as if they’re saying, “Think me, think me.” Watch your feelings come by saying, “Feel me, feel me.” Acknowledge that you’re having the feeling; acknowledge that you’re having the thought. Don’t hate it, don’t judge it, don’t critique it, don’t, in any way, move against it. Simply name it: “resentment toward so and so,” “a thought about such and such.” Admit that you’re having it, then place it on a boat and let it go down the river. The river is your stream of consciousness.

Richard Rohr Watching the River, Centre for Action and Contemplation, May 10, 2016