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Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

This is suffering

Working one's way into and through a regular meditation practice is a long journey, not a quick trip to the drug store. I entered onto this journey about four years ago, and find myself gratefully encouraged.

I have been told all along that with consistent practice one experiences, over time, new levels of insight and equanimity. For three years I simply hung on, hoping this was the case. The "small victories" of early days are giving way now to settled progress. Here is one fresh example.

Listening to dharma talks while driving is now a regular part of my routine. These "sermons", which are simply freshly presented versions of ancient teachings, say the same things over and over. Slowly I learn. One bit of learning has to do with the nature of suffering; a key element in the basic insights of the Buddha. There is suffering (well, I could have told you that), and suffering is caused by these three things: craving, aversion and delusion.

In my teaching career I have had occasion to teach these basic tenets of Buddhism, but never with much understanding; particularly no understanding of how this teaching might change my behaviour

Just in the past two weeks I have started a new practice. When I see an unhealthy behaviour pattern emerging, I say to myself, "This is suffering". In the past I might have noted the emerging pattern or habit (self-doubt, for instance), but with fearful resignation rather than compassionate curiosity.

Having noted, "This is suffering", I go one step further. I note the presence of either craving, aversion or delusion (or some combination of these). These two steps tend toward insight and equanimity, and that is the direction I seek to take.

It remains All about Grace, all through this journey into insight. Compassion is the door, not merit. Surrender, not law.


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