Of course we can always imagine more perfect conditions, how it should be ideally, how everyone should behave. But it is not our task to create an ideal. It’s our task to see how it is, and to learn from the world as it is. For the awakening of the heart, conditions are always good enough.
Yesterday’s clarity is today’s stupidity
The universe has dark and light,
Entrust oneself to change.
Ikkyu, 1394 -1481, Japanese Zen Buddhist priest
Please clearly understand that when the mind is still, it’s in its natural, normal state.
As soon as the mind moves, it becomes conditioned (sankhāra). When the mind likes something, it becomes conditioned. When not-liking arises, it becomes conditioned. The desire to move here and there arises from conditioning.
If our awareness doesn’t keep pace with these mental proliferations as they occur, the mind will chase after them and be conditioned by them. Whenever the mind moves, at that moment, it becomes a conventional reality.
So the Buddha taught us to contemplate these wavering conditions of the mind.
Not an image that I had heard before, but the ideas behind it are quite useful:
The practice of “remaining like a log ” is based on refraining, not repressing. When you realize you’re thinking, just acknowledge that. Then turn your attention to your breath flowing in and out, to your body, to the immediacy of your experience. Doing this allows you to be present and alert, and thoughts have a chance to calm down.
With this practice, it can be helpful to gently breathe in and out with the restlessness of the energy. This is a major support for learning to stay present. Basic wakefulness is right here, if we can just relax. Our situation is fundamentally fluid, unbiased, and free, and we can tune into this at any time. When we practice “remaining like a log, ” we allow for this opportunity.
Pema Chodron, No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
Even on a grey snowy morning like this one…
The mind is luminous, brightly shining, and this is never absent. However, it is sullied by incoming defilements, coloured by the thoughts and emotions that people put upon it. If you were to see the luminous freedom of the mind, you would cultivate it before anything else, keeping it free from all attachments
Anguttara Nikaya, early Buddhist scripture
Change the attitude and perspective that comes from the daily world of time and having some place to go, to one being more steady and collected in the here and now.
The time sense is important to be clear about. Notice how the future feels as a direct experience: when there’s something in the future, there’s tension. This could be either because of impatience to get to a desirable state or an achievement, or it could be worry or dread over what might go wrong. In either case you lose the open ease of being in the present. When you think of the future as a definite reality, you believe in the moods that are embedded in that sense, and in the ideas that they create. Worries start to solidify; flexibility and the capacity to deal with what arises begin to dwindle. But how real is ‘the future’? After all, we might be dead tomorrow! Isn’t it more the case that the present will unfold in line with causes and conditions ? So check the time sense; it’s caused by the moods and energies of the present. The visions and ideas are an illusion.
Take refuge in Awakening.
Direct awareness is only and always here and now; and conditions change around that sense