There’s no TV or Wi-Fi in the house and I dont have a smart phone, so Im wandering up to the Big Love Cafe to upload my blogs. I don’t really watch TV, but I do watch Netflix and can (and do) get lost in a series, so I was wasting far too much of my time in the van watching a screen. So, Im grateful for the technological limitations (backward mobile phone included), because it encourages me to be more active in what Im here for.
I had the house to myself for most of the avo and evening yesterday, so I picked up one of the books on the shelf. “Entering the Stream: An introduction to The Buddha and his teachings.” The first chapter told the story of how Buddha became to BE. I noticed how the thoughts began to flow. Judgement about the story, but resonations with his journey: His struggle with disease and death. His call to leave his family and his home, becoming a homeless wanderer in search of truth. His call to walk the road less travelled, which is a spiritual path that seeks to release us from our sufferings. Although I resonate with the journey and align with the values, I know nothing of the Buddhist teachings.
So, I opened my mind and kept reading …
Buddha teaches “4 TRUTHS”
- Life is characterized by Duhkha, which is the state of suffering
- Craving and aversion is the cause of our suffering
- Suffering can cease because its cause can end
- The Eight-fold path of meditation
THE EIGHT FOLD PATH …
- Right understanding
- Right thought
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
This path begins at the bottom because enlightenment isn’t attained by merely sitting under the shade of a tree in contemplation. Buddhist teachings are REALISTIC about where we are NOW. So, we must take the necessary steps to gain wisdom. “Those practicing Dharma are working towards the ultimate goal of liberation from all suffering” WOW !!! My motivation for coming here has been complex, but at the heart of it, is my need for a deeper sense of inner peace. As I read through the teachings, I get goosy bumps. Its a little clearer as to why I needed to BE here. I’m aware that the root cause of our suffering lies within our minds, but multiple losses triggered a struggle within me. Stronger cravings for what I liked and stronger aversions to what I disliked. Struggles that created chaos and conflict within my mind, that I couldn’t release myself from. I knew I needed spiritual support, so the Chenrezig made sense.
Here, I can still BE of service, while remaining true to myself. The work exchange program provides me with an opportunity to give back to the community, while learning skills that support my need for change. I’m provided with comfy accommodation and nourishing food. Im surrounded by like-minded people, a library thats full of knowledge and some of those who teach that knowledge live here. So I have all the support I need to attain my goal for inner peace. I don’t think these people are my tribe per say, but we do align with the same values that motivate our need to release suffering. I do seek mentor-ship, support and guidance, and I want to learn how to deepen my meditation.
So, this is the place to BE.
As I continued to read though the chapters in the book, I realized that my mind has been in conflict between conditioning and liberation. The OLD stories that limit us and the NEW story that serves to liberate us. Thats why I’ve been diving deeper into myself, to shine a light on my shadow. To unlock deeper truths from my mind. According to the Buddhists, “The mind spends most of its time lost in fantasy and illusions. Reliving pleasant and unpleasant events from the past and anticipating the future with eagerness and fear.” While lost in wanting and lacking, we become unaware of what’s happening now and lose touch with the reality of what IS.
“To release ourselves from suffering, we must be conscious of it and become better acquainted with it.” I acknowledge that my need to isolate myself to the van, was a need to explore my struggle with grief and get to the core of our suffering. I’ve never wanted to avoid my struggle because I know the root cause of suffering lies beneath it. “Diverting our attention from the cravings and aversions that cause suffering “deals” with it effectively at the conscious level, but suppresses the negativity and doesn’t get to the root cause of our problem.” The root cause of our suffering is our conditioned mind, which I understand as being our limited beliefs. When the roots of our conditioned mind are removed, then we are freed of the tension to seek (crave) or deny (aversion) and can finally live in PEACE. To remove the roots of our conditioning, we need to dive IN to the depths of our minds, to deal with where our suffering began. We must do the work and be willing to see things as they really are.
This is the work I’ve actively been doing, but I went as far as I could alone. During the Full Moon eclipse, my inner conflicts created tensions that physically manifested in my head. I wonder, am I getting closer to the root cause of my suffering? Is peace within my grasp?
I believe there are many keys that unlock a variety of gates within our minds. My heart opened the first gate of consciousness because experiences of love and loss triggered a deeper sense of self, then it was the significance of (3). Now, I seek to focus my mind and develop the ability to consciously direct and control my mental processes. To expand beyond the observer and rise above my thoughts. “Experiencing directly the reality of oneself and working systematically to remove the conditioning that gives rise to suffering.”
Those practicing Dharma are working towards the ultimate goal of liberation from all suffering. To DO this I need to put effort into contemplation, by removing myself from the world (which is the mental state that agitates me) to master the art of meditation.
According to the Buddhists, meditation is how we focus our attention on breath, to keep us present in the moment. It teaches us how to allow the thoughts and feelings to rise and fall without attaching to them. To focus on sensation and become aware of the point where the process of reaction begins. To observe without liking or disliking, so it won’t develop into a craving or aversion. This is the PEACE of mind I seek, so I’m gonna keep reading and learn how to BE 😊