This week we will take a deeper look at the 2nd quarter of Chapter 1. As I was reading this chapter I found myself wanting to quickly move on. I found it difficult to stay present as I read of difficulty after difficulty. It is quite painful when we take a full look at the way we treat life, earth, animals and other humans beings. It’s not hard to see the disconnection, the blinders and denial we need to live in just to get up in the morning. Page after page, Thannissara lays out the causes leading to our blindness, deafening and hardening armor that reinforces the continuation of this painful way of living. Within these same pages, however, Thannissara also weaves in the way leading to liberation.
Liberation is born out of experience. It is in our willingness to investigate the nature of suffering that we find freedom. The only way I know how to practice that is connected to the present moment is through the use of contemplative questioning. Last week we looked at the need to let go of guilt and fear as preparation for doing this work. The Intention to Stand Up statement is a way to practice returning the mind to present moment and strengthen out capacity to stay with the difficulty of whatever heartbreak issue we have chosen to work with over the next 6 months. Hopefully, it will support you in looking a the pain of your chosen heartbreak issue without getting swallowed up in the pain.
Keep in mind, Buddhist practice is not about how to solve the problems/difficulties in our lives. Nor is it about learning how to pretend to “put up” with the problems/difficulties in our lives. And it is not about learning how to disconnect from the problem/difficulties in our lives. Buddhist practice is about one thing – as I see it – learning to let go of our resistance/aversion to the reality that problems/difficulties are present in our lives and in doing so, we free up the mental energy we used to solve, pretend and disconnect around the problems/difficulties to show up, full throttle, for whatever is direct action response is needed in the moment.
This weeks practice questions will help us see where we pull away from the pain and suffering of our heartbreak issue. Try to use them to look directly at your heartbreak through the lens of all its varying facets, both internally and externally. Can you sense when or where you become disconnected to the pain/reality of your heartbreak and allow your relationship with it to reside primarily in the world of thought – opinions, ideas, complaints and judgment? Do you trust that practice can help you reclaim a more direct and compassionate response to this heartbreak?
As you know, I will beat the Women’s March in Washington DC next weekend. For those of you not going to DC, I believe it is still important to be involved locally. Here is a link to the corresponding march in Seattle https://womxnsmarchseattle.wordpress.com/
PS: In case you can’t open the Word doc or don’t have a printer, here it is again:
INTENTION TO STAND UP
In the depths of my heart and soul, I wish that _______________________
Did not exist and see the difficulty I have accepting its existence in the world.
I, alone, did not create _________________________.
I, alone, cannot prevent the suffering arising out of ________________________.
I, alone, will not eliminate the existence of _________________________.
That the nature of human existence is in suffering.
That the nature of mindfulness practice is to bring me into communion with suffering.
That my ability to respond to suffering is within this communion not outside of it.
Therefore, to the extent that I am ready, I sent an intention to:
Work with others towards the elimination of _________________________.
Investigate any mental torment that stifles my efforts.
Do whatever I need to protect and take care of my heart and soul.