As I gathered my thoughts today for this post, I was mindful that my words can have an impact on those who read it. And as much I am happy to offer joyful words and thoughts here, this Blog is about my journey in the dhamma. I am a student, and not a teacher. My thoughts that arise, and words that I write are merely a product of my own exploration and discovery.
So in an effort to be mindful of each of you, I begin this post with these mindful words from the Buddha.
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Having recently read and studied the teaching about carita (character), I have attempted to incorporate the associated meditation object into my current practice. I think the combination of Metta (Loving Kindness) and Asubha (impurity, loathsomeness, foulness) are two objects that may be of benefit for my path.
Beginning with loving kindness to the self and then the World is always a good foundation to begin with. I see this as laying a foundation of compassion and good will towards the self and others.
I then have a peaceful mind to begin my focus on impermanence and decay.
Anicca, meaning to see clearly, understand and accept that all things are impermanent. Dukkha, that this life is unsatisfactory, and constantly subject to dissatisfaction. Anatta, being the removal of the self concept to extinguish all suffering, delusion (moha) and ignorance (avijja).
As I follow my breath, I remain constantly aware that each inhale and exhale are complete and exclusive. One breath does not mean there is a next breath or a last breath. Awareness that this moment does not mean there is a next moment or next day in this life. This physical body is composed of the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. Not only in constant change, but in decay. And the components of this illusion called “self” is merely blood, bones and tissues.
If we were to remove the outer shell of our bodies, what we see inside would be revolting to most people. We would not see pretty hair and eyes, or long hair and soft skin.
And focusing on this reality, I am allowed to see the creation of this illusion I call the self.
When I first began this focus in my meditation, I will admit to have found it a bit disturbing. But I soon realized that this was in fact what held me back from seeing more clearly the reality of this existence. Illusion is a roadblock to seeing and accepting more clearly and lovingly.
Today as I meditated, I realized I was smiling as my focus was on impermanence and decay.
How wonderful, I thought, that I can see and accept this more clearly today. This is not disturbing to me or depressing. It is enlightening to know that I have this moment. Perhaps my last moment, but that’s OK too.
Each of us has our own character and nature, so what is appropriate for me is not especially appropriate for you. For some people, even meditation may not be the best thing to do right now.
We each need to examine our own habits, and cultivate loving kindness in a way that works for us.
If you have a Monastic that you can speak to, I suggest you turn to them for counsel on this.
Remember, the title of this post is “Note to self”.
May peace be with you.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.