The next two weeks will explore the three insights that set up the foundation for understanding the truth of the 3rd Noble Truth. These three insights are not set in stone. They are basically my opinion of what I believe gives me the conviction to stay with the practice in difficult times and supports me to stay with any situation long enough to experience the felt sense of cessation of suffering for myself.
The first insight is the awareness of the distinction between bare experience and loaded experience. Here I am talking about being able to shift from my own opinions, judgments and assumption about what going on to just being with the felt sense of the experience through my sense doors. I have learned to shift my focus from my thinking to sensing into the moment. It is like shifting from eating an orange to tasting an orange; from looking at something to simply seeing; from listening to music to hearing sounds, etc. Having trained myself to let go of my thinking about something, I am able to open to a fully perspective around difficulties. This insight is about learning the difference between thinking and experience.
The second insight is shifting from trusting physical release (release that comes from our own will power) to trusting mental release (release that occurs naturally from wisdom). Here I am talking about letting go of the need to always have to fix a situation. If I feel myself leaning into trying to fix something or force some type of resolution to a situation, I remind myself to let go. This is actually a bit of play on words because the physical release of will power is actually thinking. We are mentally trying to think a change in the situation. When I began to understand will power as thinking, I began to relax the thinking and experienced a more natural release. Less dependence on thinking my way through difficulty enabled me to turn towards the actual situation. This insight is about learning to connect to the actual situation where possible resolutions lie without the tension associated with will power.
Finally, the third insight is the necessary interrelationship of relative cessation and ultimate cessation. Here I am talking about learning to trust that whatever cessation comes from a momentary release from suffering is representative of a larger release. I have an absolute belief and trust in the reality of complete cessation of suffering. Because of this, I do not let small moments of release go by without investigation into what conditions or causes were present. I then take what I learn and apply it over and over. I don’t believe that the cessation of suffering is happenstance, luck, miraculous or random. I think it is built upon causes and conditions that are seen and unseen. This insight is about understanding the nature of cessation.
This will be the discussion for the next to weeks.
P.S. I am pleased to announce that Venerable Pannavati will be leading the talk on Thursday March 29th. We are truly fortunate to have a private talk with her. I hope you will get the opportunity to come.