OU blog

Personal Blogs


Thought purification

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 8 Aug 2023, 09:05

My main practise edge just now seems to be purifying my thoughts. Bloody difficult. But not impossible. The Buddha assures me that it can be done, it just takes time, determination and effort. Very difficult, but the rewards for doing it are well worth it.

The Buddha sometimes talks to me, yeah it sounds crazy, I don't know if it really is him or some aspect of the mind that takes on the persona of the Buddha. I have read a lot of suttas and listened to many dhamma talks, so it could be that my mind has created that voice within to help me. But it also feels real, like it really is the Buddha talking to me. If it is a delusion it is not unhelpful, as the advice is golden.

 I connected with him the first time I actually succeeded at breath meditation and my consciousness suddenly became very different, it went from mundane to an expansive bliss that I can't put into words. All the stress and sorrow, was completely gone. The Buddha appeared to me and said: 'Well done.'

Ever since then he occasionally appears to give me advice when I am struggling. Not just the Buddha but his famous disciples too. I have had the honour of speaking to Mogallana and Sariputta among others. I seem to be part of a spiritual sangha of enlightened beings now, human and non-human who have become my friends and offer support when I need it. But they are always clear I have to do the work myself. It is up to me, noone else can do the work for me.

The impurities of the mind have become relentless on their assualt on the heart, my inner life has become a battlefield. Mindfulness, right effort and samhadi is my protection from them.

 If mindfulness slips though, they can get into the heart and wreak all sorts of damage. But once I see that they have poisoned the heart I then have to remove them. And return to keeping the seven factors of enlightenment going.

The making effort part is not all that pleasant, but I know from experience that eventually what we practice grows stronger and becomes second nature. At that point it gets easier and then becomes effortless. I am just learning skills. There's nothing magical going on, any one of us if we put in the effort can free our minds from greed, hate and delusion, and it is worth it. Samsara is short changing us, nibanna is much better.

If I notice my thoughts are about greed, ill will, conceit, delusion, or are total nonsense (rubbish that comes in from the world). I interrupt the thoughts and label them as such. At first this was tiring to do, it didn't feel like liberation, it felt unpleasant. But something has changed now, when I interrupt the thoughts after they've gone astray and label them. The mind quickly abandons them, just like that, it drops them and willingly returns to centering with the breath and body. No arguments or resistance. 

At the moment the solar plexus and heart area of the body feels really good to anchor attention with as I go about the day. Feels really nice being centred there.

It is like the mind is now understanding at a deep level that greed, hate, conceit and delusion are no good and lead to suffering, and when I interrupt these kind of thoughts the mind willingly drops them. 

The thoughts come back, and I get absorbed in them again. Then I remember, become aware,  mindfulness returns, I interrupt and label the thoughts, and the mind happily lets go of them and centres with the breath and body. I will also generate thoughts of goodwill and peace to all beings or reflect on the dhamma if thinking is not too tiring. Wholesome thoughts I encourage, it's just the unwholesome thoughts I abandon. 

But at times it is nice to not think even good thoughts. To stop thinking and enjoy silence, a wordless peace that doesn't depend on language.


Share post

The perception of stagnation

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Thursday, 30 Mar 2023, 21:29

Working with the hindrance of stagnation today. Its other name is 'sloth and torpor' or dullness and drowsiness.

I seem to be getting very little sleep at the moment. And it is hard getting through a day when I feel so tired, my skin feels weird and everything has this surreal achey haze to it, every conversation, every step, every thought and deed. I tried to get some sleep during the day, but just couldn't.

Still, there was a point where I suddenly became enthused to do some studying and managed to get a fair bit done, almost caught up, and hopefully will be back in sync with the timetable after tomorrow. 

With fatigue perception matters. If I keep reminding myself of how tired I feel and how unbearable it all is, it definitely makes it worse. Perception seems to be the bridge between physical pain and mental pain.

Thinking can be so tiring. If I can, it is nice to flow with life without the constant internal dialogue about it all. 

My main practise edge at the moment is learning ways to stop thinking. How to switch off the thought processes when I want to and have a rest from them. There are times when thinking isn't helpful at all and it just makes things worse. If I can get into a flow where thinking stops, and there's no story, just awareness centred with the body, watching the sensations and feelings as they arise and cease in the moment without getting involved with them, it can bring a bit of peace and space from it all which can ease the suffering a bit.

The hard part is forgetting and getting caught up in the internal dialogue again, then one remembers the original intention not to get caught up in the story, and it can feel quite tiring making this constant effort of bringing awareness back to the body. But this is how new habits are made, how new sankharas are formed. Eventually in time the new sankhara will develop a momentum of its own and become effortless, and grow stronger deeper; maybe then I will find a refuge from thinking when I need it (-:

Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 266471