I am enjoying writing and reading on , and I have joined a publication on there called: 'Mystic Minds' that publishes articles on spirituality, and a story I wrote was published there today. I feel quite chuffed about it (-: My first article in a publication.
I know it will be a long journey, and I am only just starting really, but I feel like writing is what I am meant to be doing. I find writing cathartic.
I keep seeing pristine white feathers on the path in front of me everywhere I walk. People kept telling me to look out for signs after my Dad died. I didn't have clue what they were talking about. But I wonder if these white feathers are my Dad telling me I am going in the right direction with my writing, I don't know.
I feel my Dad's presence sometimes, it feels like he is with me. I miss him so much. I had another bout of tears earlier, and just now actually writing this wee article; but it is reassuring to know he is okay. I feel his support in the spirit world. And whenever I do something kind or generous I try to remember to dedicate it in his memory, and say a little prayer for him.
I feel blessed at the moment.
Dhamma isn't that popular, the vast majority of people don't want to get enlightened, there are a few that do, but most don't. I have little passion for writing about much else though, the world just doesn't interest me anymore. The elephant in the room when it comes to worldly success is: Death.
One works hard for what?
In the end all that one has achieved gets taken away. Sometimes quite suddenly,
people can die unexpectedly both young and old. For me, death, is the most
pressing concern. It renders everything else meaningless.
The world also changes quite rapidly and things one worked hard to learn years ago, are no longer relevant now, automation makes learning skills feel pointless. The ups and downs of the economy mean banks and countries can go bankrupt. Placing all your hopes in a career or finance is a risky bet, and in the end the house always wins, Mara (death) takes all. Even our memories get taken away from us, or change.
The only thing that I really like to write about is dhamma, and
connection. But even friendships don't last, these too are impermanent, friends
come and go. People change, relationships break. Placing all one's hopes in
connection is also a risky bet.
The only thing that feels like it is worth making effort for is the dhamma. That's why I work so hard at practising it. For me it is the only thing that matters now. Life is uncertain. But if I can get enlightened then I will have found something secure, something that can't be taken away by Mara.
Death comes for all, and when it comes for me, I will take refuge in the dhamma.
I am learning to become more aware of the mental dispositions that cause sorrow and suffering. With repetive practice, not giving up, being knocked down and getting up again repeatedly. My awareness is getting stronger, and I am becoming less ignorant of these tendencies of the mind. I think as I become less ignorant, I will wise up to them more, and as I wise up to them, I will feel less inclined to go along with them, which will make it is easier to let go of them.
I have encountered a few situations today that would normally make me angry, but I was mindful and even though I felt the anger arise in me, I saw how it would lead to suffering in the end and chose not to go along with it, to just drop it. The same can be done with longing and conceit.
Not saying it is easy. I think it is like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it. It takes many hours of practise to fully uproot ignorance. It can be done in one lifetime, but it can also take many of them. There will also be many failures on the way.
Another thing I am learning is it is very easy to have a profound meditation experience and think you are enlightened afterwards. Sadly, this wears off, and then when a difficult life event happens, one soon discovers just how unenlightened they are.
It is a very humbling experience when this happens, but it can also be a great teacher. Never punish yourself for making mistakes. We all do it. There isn’t a single human on Earth who hasn’t made them. Even the Buddha himself made some daft mistakes on his journey to enlightenment.
The difference is, as awareness grows (with practise), one learns to look at mistakes differently and develop from them, making them part of the path. One learns how to turn something bad into something good. Our failures then become the fertiliser that ripens the fruit. So don't despair. We can learn from it all.
Dōgen defined a Buddha as someone who has great realisation of delusion.
Decided to have a go at writing on Medium. Have joined it as a paid member, it costs a fiver a month.
Anyway this is the link: https://medium.com/@richiecuthbertson
I will of course continue to post stuff on here, just some articles will be exclusive to medium.
peace and love
May you all be safe, well, serene, and happy!
This world is not easy. Poverty is hard. It is so challenging to make ends meet these days. The cost of living is high, and finding a way to generate an income feels impossible. Every door I open seems to get slammed in my face. Especially when suffering with health problems, it is hard to put in the hours needed to survive. The gig economy is a joke, working for peanuts, and the competition is fierce.
Life can be unpleasant
Dark times happen
whether I like it or not
Exams are cruel.
I woke up sick
I am not sure I will pass.
Not just the academic exam.
But the exam of life.
I failed in every aspect today.
Got angry this morning.
Couldn’t let go of it.
The horrible mood was sticky like glue.
And the body felt like shit.
A fatigued mind.
With all lucidity gone.
The thirst for non-existence was strong.
I burst into tears at one point.
This world can be harsh.
I hate money
I can’t get my head around it at all.
I long to escape.
It has been a dark few days within this fathom length body.
This morning I was once again pummelled by the dark forces of the kilesas (greed, hate, conceit, and delusion). They have become my relentless teachers these days. They hit me with everything they got today. Brought me to tears if I am honest.
Revealing to me just how much work there is still left to do on this mind.
I attended a dharma inquiry this evening that really seemed to hit the nail on the head of how I was feeling. I left seeing things more clearly.
I now understand this Buddhist practise is not just about the intellect, it is as much about the heart. Both work together. Complement one another.
Cool head, warm heart.
Friendship is important, as challenging as it can feel at times to relate to others, it teaches me things I miss when practising alone. I think I am a mix of classical Buddhism and Zen, although not the authoritarian kind of Zen. The friendly Zen (-:
I am not really into the Bodhisattva vow, though I respect it. I just feel uncertain about vowing.
I have decided I want to go for full enlightenment, and if I reach that, it will be impossible to help all beings then; but that does not mean I don't feel love for them, I feel compassion, and when wise enough I will try to keep the true dhamma alive for future generations, if I live that long. I want to help as many beings as I can. But not proselytising, not conceited, just living from the heart, and out of compassion teaching those who ask, and only when asked.
But I am getting ahead of myself, I still have much to learn before I realise that lofty aspiration.
I have a three hour exam tomorrow on the topic of cyber security. I am not looking forward to it. Wish me luck!
May all be safe, well, peaceful, and 😊
Four Bases of Psychic Power (satara iddhipada)
Desire or zeal (chanda)
I am going through another dark night. I feel this oppressive vibe crushing down on my mind. I am trying not to take it personally. It felt like some people were being a bit off with me today, but I am determined not to let other’s moods affect mine.
If other people judge me, well that’s their problem. I know I have been far from perfect in the past, but that is the past. It is not who I am now, I am not the same person I was back then.
I have done my best to learn from past mistakes but
reliving them over and over is not going to help anyone. The best thing I can
do is resolve never to make those same mistakes again and move on, keep persevering
on the noble eightfold path. Turn something bad into something good. That’s how
I make amends and put right the bad kamma from the past. But I won’t punish
myself anymore for mistakes I made when I was younger. I was ignorant and didn’t
know any better. It is cruel to punish oneself for the past. Noone can go back
and change it. What good does it do to continually relive it. I am not that
person anymore. I’ve changed.
I will just allow myself to be misunderstood by others without worrying about correcting them. I know what’s in my heart and where I am in my spiritual development, as do my deva friends. What others think of me is their business. I don’t have to take on board anyone else’s negativity. I am not responsible for what others think. I am only responsible for what I think. And I don’t want to think negative thoughts or feel ill will.
I remember something a Buddhist teacher said once, that when difficulties like this arise, remember it is just the Buddha testing you, to see how far gone you are (-:
I have been here before, and the dark night usually happens just before I am about to make a sudden transition and make progress. It often feels darkest just before the light returns and becomes brighter still.
The dark night can be a sign one is making progress
on the spiritual journey. I am getting familiar with this pattern. What I must
do is try very hard not to react to it. No matter how uncomfortable and
agitated I feel. I must not say or do anything I will regret later. Try to find
some stillness and equanimity.
The truth is that I am the cause of my suffering, no one else is. It is the craving within me that causes my problems. The greed, hate, delusion, ignorance, and conceit. It isn’t something outside the mind, it is something within it. And that means I have the power to change it.
If I react to the dark night, it will only increase the tendency of the mind to react negatively to it again in the future. But by choosing not to react, to patiently endure the unpleasant feelings and practise the four right efforts. That negative tendency of the mind gets weaker, and the power of right effort and mindfulness gets stronger.
This world can make you feel ashamed to be alone. But it is okay to be alone. I can be my own best friend. My own teacher, my own refuge. There’s great power in seeing that.
The noble eightfold path goes against the stream of this modern world, and the further one gets on the path, the lonelier it can feel.
It has always been that way though, only the minority of people search for the higher paths and fruits. The majority just want the world and are content to spend their days chasing after sense-impressions and never going beyond that. But I no longer find excitement in the world. The things I used to enjoy; I have lost interest in now. I hunger for higher things. For nibbana, for liberation from craving, relief from the pain of wanting.
And this spiritual hunger is not a bad thing. Some people criticise me for having the desire to liberate the mind. But the Buddha encouraged it, he talked about right desire, he called it chanda. If one does not aspire to realise nibbana, one will never make effort, and if one never makes effort, one will never realise the paths and fruits of enlightenment. Effort is fuelled by desire. It’s what keeps you walking. It is only when the work has been done, that one lets go of the desire for liberation.
Do not be afraid to be alone. Sometimes solitude is
the wisest course of action to take when the world is on fire with greed, hate
and delusion. Sometimes solitude is the only way to make progress on the path.
In the words of the Buddha:
“ If you find an alert companion, a wise and virtuous friend, then, overcoming all adversities, wander with them, joyful and mindful.
If you find no alert companion, no wise and virtuous friend, then, like a king who flees his conquered realm, wander alone like a tusker in the wilds.
It’s better to wander alone, than have fellowship with fools. Wander alone and do no wrong, at ease like a tusker in the wilds.”
The onus is very much on oneself to do the work, no one else can do it for us. None but ourselves can free our mind. One must make effort.
Bear in mind it is said there are 84 0000 dhamma doors that lead to nibbana. The Buddha taught many paths and skilful means over his 45-year teaching career. We are all different, with different interests and dispositions, and so we must make our own raft out of the huge amount of teachings passed down to us over the ages, find the ones that suit us. There isn't one size that fits all.
In the metaphor of the raft, it isn't a fancy raft that gets us to the other shore. It is just a bundle of sticks placed under the arms to keep us afloat while we paddle across the flood using the four limbs of right effort.
We don't have to know it all. Just grab a bundle of
teachings from the huge pile handed down to us, those that resonate with you
and make those into your raft.
And gently paddle, pace yourself, tune, and balance the energy of right effort:
‘ Thus, have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:
“How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?”
“By not halting, friend, and by not straining I
crossed the flood.”
“But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?”
“When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank;
but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by
not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood.”
~ S 1.1 (Bhikkhu Bodhi trans.)
The reason Buddhist teachings are often in the form of numbered lists is because at the time of the Buddha things weren't written down. The Buddha and the monks couldn't read or write, so they memorised the teachings. Making them into numbered lists made them easier for memory and recall. Then on their own, a person would contemplate and reflect on their meaning, unpack them, investigate them, fill in the details through their own practise and experience of life.
The reason we can't go straight to the deathless, why we need to study and practise, is because the concept of letting go is easy enough to see intellectually, but we are all conditioned and have formed habits that get in the way and make it hard to let go. That's why one must undergo training to decondition the conditioning. Then old habits gradually fall away, and new ones develop that help us to realise the state of non-clinging, or non-attachment. The end of suffering.
The intellectual thinking part is also important as it helps us understand where we are going and what the teachings are for, why we are practising and what the practise is leading towards. Another translation of right view is right understanding.
But it is a gradual process. Which involves making the five aggregates into a path, the noble eightfold path. The robe of liberation. The Buddha likened the path to the continental shelf of India, that gradually slopes down, and eventually reaches a point where it suddenly drops off into the abyss. That's what the path does, it gradually leads us in the direction of nibbana (the end of suffering). And when the path factors are sufficiently developed, there comes the sudden insight, the Eureka moment, were we see something we cannot unsee - that's the drop-off point, enlightenment. From there, there's no going back, one will never see things the same way again.
It doesn't mean one is separate from the world though, it just means one stops clinging to it, stops yearning for things. The pain of wanting is gone. Craving is extinguished. Conceit is seen through, and the involuntary movements of the mind cease - which brings profound relief. A peace and happiness not dependent on conditions, independent of the world. And because it is not dependent on conditions, it lasts, and doesn't end.
But love and compassion for other beings is still
there. Friendship and connection are still there. That doesn't go. If anything,
it grows. Loving-kindness becomes unlimited, immeasurable, abundant.
Without the ego placing limitations on it, one's compassion becomes boundless.
The whole process is illustrated nicely in the ten Ox-herding pictures in Zen.
It all comes
from what is sensed in the world around.
The world of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, words and ideas.
But I am not any of these things.
They are not me or mine.
Am I the objects in the world?
Am I sense-impressions and words?
Dependently originated they do not last.
As conditions change so do they.
This body is not mine. It grew by itself.
A biological process I have no control over.
It changes whether I like it or not.
It ages, gets sick, will one day die.
If it was mine, I would be able to tell it to stop ageing, to not die.
To be handsome, not ugly.
But it changes regardless of what I say.
If I was to chop off a body part and lay it on the ground.
Is that body part the self?
Where is the self in these five streams?
These five aggregates of clinging:
body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, sense-consciousness.
When one lets go of identifying with them
Filters out all that is not self.
A boundless emptiness not dependent on conditions
A state that isn’t born and doesn’t die
Relief from the pain of wanting.
Hard to put into words.
But I will keep trying.
In the Noble eightfold path, the sixth factor is Right Effort. It has five aspects to it.
These are the four right exertions, or four right efforts, and the tuning of energy so that it is neither too lax, nor too tight. One learns to tune the energy of effort so that one doesn't become too lazy in their practise, whilst also avoiding the other extreme of over-exertion, overdoing it, and straining the mind. Both extremes are to be avoided. A bit like tuning a guitar string, so that it sounds just right. You want to tune effort so that you don't stagnate in your practise, but you also don't burn out either. If you try too hard you will end up feeling aversion towards meditation practise and dhamma, and if you don't make effort, you will not develop or make progress.
The four right efforts are:
1. Preventing unwholesome states of mind arising
This involves talking to oneself in the morning when you get up to start the day. You prep the mind and tell yourself: 'I will avoid the folly of the fault-finding mind; and I will avoid the folly of the greedy/lustful mind."
As one goes about the day one aspires to hold on to the sign of peace and keep one's consciousness secluded from anger/hate and lust/greed. This is done by avoiding unwise attention to the fault (both in oneself and in others); and by avoiding unwise attention to the beautiful.
One cannot avoid sensing things in the world, we can't walk around with our eyes closed etc, we will be bombarded by sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, words, and ideas. It isn't about shutting off the senses, it is about practising wise attention to them, so they don't lead us to greed, hate and delusion. One senses what is sensed without adding any more to it.
I find the teaching the Buddha gave to Bahiya helpful here:
'In the seen, there is only the seen.
In the heard, there is only the heard.
In the sensed, there is only the sensed.
In the cognized, there is only the cognized.
This Bahiya is how you should train yourself.
When for you Bahiya there is:
In the seen, only the seen.
In the heard, only the heard.
In the sensed, only the sensed.
In the cognized, only the cognized.
Then there is no you in connection to that.
And when there is no you in connection to that.
There is no you there.
And when there is no you there.
You are neither here nor there, nor in between the two.
This, just this, is the end of suffering.'
2. Removal of unwholesome states of mind should they arise
The second right effort is used when the first right effort: prevention, fails. This is about removing (letting go of, abandoning) greed, aversion, and delusion, (aka the five hindrances: longing, aversion, sloth, restlessness/worry, and doubt) should they arise in the mind. The Buddha suggests five strategies for doing this.
The first is dismissal and replacement, i.e. replacing the unwholesome state of mind with its opposite. Such as replacing anger with calmness or loving-kindness (metta). Like a carpenter knocking out a peg by replacing it with another.
If that fails then one uses a healthy sense of shame, reflecting on how for example, anger is a great stain on the personality, how it is ignoble and leads to painful states of mind for oneself and others. This sense of shame can help one let go of it. The Buddha likens it to a person about to go out to meet some people they respect and admire. They look at themselves in a mirror and see the corpse of a snake hanging round their neck, and feeling repulsed by it they immediately remove it, as that is not how one wants to appear in front of people one respects and admires.
If that fails then one is to ignore the unwholesome state of mind, not pay attention to it, as if turning away from a sight one does not wish to see. A Nun described it during a retreat I attended, as being like walking down the street and seeing some dogshit on the pavement, one is careful not to step into it. One can also use distraction as well, find something that distracts the mind from the unwholesome feelings, till they cease.
If that fails one turns to face it, looks directly
at it. And then brings oneself of it gradually in stages. The Buddha uses a
cartoon metaphor of a man running, who says to himself, why am I running when I
could be walking? Then he says to himself, why am I walking when I could be
standing? Then why am I standing when I could be sitting? Why am I sitting when
I could be lying down? At each stage one reviews if it is working, noticing if
the unwholesome state of mind is weakening, if it is that means you are going
in the right direction and should keep doing what you are doing, eventually it
If that strategy fails then the Buddha suggests as a last resort one suppresses the unwholesome state of mind. He uses the metaphor of a strong man pinning down a weaker man. He makes it clear one must not allow that unwholesome state to express itself as it can lead to suffering for both oneself and others.
There are other strategies for abandoning unwholesome states of mind.
One must experiment and find what is helpful for you. Investigate in your own
life, see what works. We are all unique and conditioned differently. The way I
do things, may not necessarily work for everyone else. We must know ourselves
and find our own way. It doesn't matter what strategy you use. The main thing
is to be mindful, investigate and make effort. Find ways of bringing yourself
out of destructive states of mind before they cause harm to oneself and others,
before they cause suffering, that's the main reason. It is not a commandment;
it isn't about judging anyone or being authoritarian. What other people do is
up to them, it's their business. The reason one abandons greed, hate, and
delusion is because they cause us suffering, and the noble eightfold path is
about putting an end to suffering.
3. Generating wholesome states of mind
Wholesome states of mind are the seven factors of enlightenment: 1. mindfulness, 2. investigation, 3.effort (energy), 4.joy, 5. calmness, 6. samadhi (aka collectedness, concentration, composure, unification of mind, stillness), and 7. equanimity (Balance).
The Brahma viharas are also wholesome states of mind, these are: loving-kindness/friendliness/goodwill (metta), compassion (karuna), joy in the happiness of others (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha). In fact, practising the brahma viharas fulfils much of the eightfold path and can take you to the doorstep of nibbana. The brahma viharas fulfils, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (concentration). When one has perfected the brahma viharas, one then needs to look again at right view and penetrate and understand the four noble truths,
1. Knowledge of suffering (which is to be understood)
2. Knowledge of the cause of suffering (which is to be abandoned)
3. Knowledge of the end of suffering (which is to be realised)
4. Knowledge of the way that leads to the end of suffering (which is to be developed)
One can unlock the door to nibbana with a key that has three teeth which fit the lock. The three teeth that fit the lock are the understanding of: anicca (impermanence, change), dukkha (stress, sorrow, unsatisfactoriness, grief, suffering), and anatta (not-self). One investigates conditioned phenomena, investigates the five aggregates (body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts, sense-consciousness), and observes the three characteristics in them. And when with wisdom and insight, with direct knowing and experience in one's own life, (not just an intellectual understanding). The mind stops clinging to conditioned phenomena, and what remains then is the deathless, the unconditioned, nibbana. Which is an experience, it is not annihilation. It goes beyond concepts of existence and non-existence. Beyond all views. I think in the Mahayana tradition it is known as Buddha nature, or the original mind. And from there without the ego getting in the way and attaching conditions to things, no longer caught in the self-centred dream, unlimited, immeasurable, boundless compassion for all beings can flow.
4. Sustaining wholesome states of mind
The fourth right effort is about keeping the wholesome states of mind going continuously, throughout the day. On and off the cushion.
In the words of the Buddha:
'One generates the desire for the prevention of unwholesome states of mind. By making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.
One generates the desire for the abandonment of unwholesome states of mind. By making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.
One generates the desire for the arising of wholesome states of mind. By making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind, and persevering.
One generates the desire for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and full development of wholesome states of mind. By making effort, rousing energy, exerting one's mind and persevering. '
Hope this helps others out there. I have found the teaching on right effort to be very helpful and empowering for me. If one keeps practising, the effort builds up a momentum and energy of its own and it then gets easier, becomes more automatic. It is just building habits really.
I still have much work to do, but I can testify that this works. It is powerful stuff, and the Buddha's teachings on right effort are not often taught in the West, which is a shame, because they are so important. Right effort is the third factor in the seven factors of enlightenment, aka energy, and the Buddha mentions this factor more times than any other factor, even more so than mindfulness. It is very important, and one won't make much progress without making effort.
This isn't me teaching or anything. I am not a teacher, and I am not telling others what to do with their lives. It is just my perspective and what I practise with in my own life that I have found helpful. It may or may not be helpful to others. And I honestly won't take it personally if it isn't anyone else’s cup of tea.
I find it is useful for keeping the precepts, as well as developing the
other aspects of the path, or any other skill in life you want to learn
May we all be safe, well, peaceful and happy.
When good music hits the spot
I like that feeling a lot
How it makes my spine shiver
Like a beautiful colour
Making me feel alive
And on some level we jive
Touch of a breeze
Setting my energy at ease
Fills me with zest
And I feel blessed
By something real
That’s how you make me feel.
Painted in acrylic. Prints available from here.
© Asoka Richie 2023 (all rights reserved)
The Buddha noted that dependent co-arising and the causes of suffering are like a tangled skein.
Painted in acrylic. Prints available from here.
© Asoka Richie 2023 (all rights reserved)
How long must a man lie on a bed of nails
before he realises it is not good for him?
What does it take for him to end his torment?
We cling to this garbage of sorrows.
Following the breadcrumbs of desire.
That lead nowhere in the end,
only to despair.
And Mara’s snare.
We cling to hope.
Only for it to be smashed.
Then cut ourselves trying to put it back together again.
Trudge endlessly through this toxic sludge.
These empty wastelands of craving.
Never really finding satisfaction or relief.
Trapped in an insatiable cycle of wanting.
Feel anger when we don’t get what we want.
Burnt bitter by the angst and pain of longing.
This world is cruel.
And greed is brutal.
Vacuous, destructive, inane.
To carry on pretending otherwise is insane.
The problem with life.
The time comes when one must walk away.
Stop stabbing oneself with the poison.
Find the remedy within.
Walk the path to freedom.
End your suffering.
Put it all behind you.
And not look back.
Whatever you do,
Don’t look back.
Death’s hard to bear.
It feels cruel.
Grief is lonely.
Dad was a good man.
Loved by many.
Lots of different people
attended his funeral.
His life affected them all.
It was beautiful.
The world feels a lesser place
Now he has gone.
Just isn’t the same.
He made things better.
Why did he have to die?
I’ve read that the wise do not grieve.
But still the tears fall.
Perhaps that means
I am not wise at all.
Painted in acrylic. Prints available from here.
© Asoka Richie 2023 (all rights reserved)
" When angry states of mind arise in meditation, balance them by developing feelings of loving-kindness. If someone does something bad or gets angry, don’t get angry yourself. If you do, you are being more ignorant than they. Be wise. Keep in mind compassion, for that person is suffering. Fill your mind with loving-kindness as if he were a dear brother.” -Ajahn Chah
Anger is suffering. It feels unpleasant. Like a sickness. A poison. Harming the body.
Metta (loving-kindness) feels good. It feels pleasant. Like a medicine. It helps heal the body. Metta fosters connection and friendship. Is good for our health and wellbeing, as well as everyone else’s.
Anger harms the body; metta heals it.
Anger harms society; metta heals it.
It can feel extremely challenging to go from anger to metta
(loving-kindness) though. Sometimes I can't just snap myself out of an angry
Something interesting about feelings: a neutral feeling feels pleasant after a painful feeling. Knowing this can be helpful.
It takes a bit of effort, and some will power at first. One must refuse to enter into any dialogue with the mind. Ignore thoughts. This is not an intellectual matter. For me, anger is a state of emergency, a dangerous fire I need to put out ASAP.
I must forget the past, forget the future, forget the self, forget what the anger is even about, forget it all, words are not what’s needed. There’s no reasoning with a mind absorbed in anger. Keep attentive to the neutral feeling, which becomes easier to do as the mind notices it feels more pleasant than being angry
Let what is sensed be just what is sensed, without adding anymore to it.
Awareness of space. Of the elements, earth, water, or air.
The touch of clothing on the skin.
A cool breeze can also help.
Half-closing my eyes reduces the visual information coming in.
Which can ease agitation. It is amazing how much difference half-closing one’s eyes makes. It helps reduce sensory input, which can be calming.
Pacing back and forth, and gradually slowing my pace down, till it becomes a calm serene walking pace. Imagining myself walking like a Buddha.
Walking can feel good, because it has this feeling that you are
walking through stuff, walking it out of your system. I like the feeling of
motion, the sensations in the feet, the feeling of the space around the body.
When the mind is calm, metta is easier to practise which brings pleasant feelings.
The neutral feeling like a bridge from anger to loving-kindness.
There's a quote I remember, but not sure who said it. (I can't
find it anywhere online.) But it was by a forest monk (I think). Someone asked
him if greed, anger, and conceit still arose in his mind. He answered 'yes, but
there isn't anywhere for it to land, so nothing becomes of it.'
Sometimes I can centre on an empty space within. When I go there the fire of anger can’t take a hold and goes out. Same with wanting, conceit and delusion. They don’t affect me when I am centred with emptiness. It all just stops, ceases before it can take a hold. There’s a lovely feeling in the heart space then. It becomes a place of no fear and can feel freeing and peaceful.
Rain drops fall like a tranquil melody.
from a mountain of studying.
So much revision to do
And my heart is just not in it.
is luminous in the rain.
Green shades of every kind.
I stop to watch a
as it swims back and forth.
A barrel jellyfish I think.
Blind as a bat though
As it bumps into the sea wall.
Sit at the computer.
' When you can't do anything to change what is happening.
Challenge yourself to change your response to what's happening.
That's where your power is. '
- the Buddha (I think).
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