May 17 2011

Appearance to Mind

creek in Aravaipa Canyon

Happiness…what does the word conjure for you?

i just spent a few days in retreat on this topic.  Buddha has said that the root cause of all our suffering is ignorance, primarily self-grasping ignorance. to  experience lasting “happiness” one must realize the truth of all phenomena and persons…persons and other phenomena have no existence from their own side but exist as mere imputation by conceptual thought. to be inherently existent the phenomena or person would be static, unchanging, independent and permanent.  there is NOTHING that exists this way, everything changes moment by moment, everything is a dependent nature and everything is impermanent.  when we realize the true nature of  selflessness or emptiness we stop self-grasping and become free from experiencing suffering.

the retreat provided many short teachings with guided meditations, wisdom and method, to a group of approximately 30.  we wake in the mornings for breakfast at 7am  and practice silence till lunch time.  beginning at 8:30am we start with one hour combo’s of teaching(wisdom) and meditation(method) and break for one hour in silence to repeat this to the last teaching at 7:30p. it is very intensive training to be still, quiet and within.  by dark i am mentally exhausted, however i felt light and oddly happy, almost giddy. retreats for me generally are like a boost of vitamins/minerals of energy into my practice and faith. this retreat was no different, i feel less attached to self and stuff in general thus happier and freer to deal with daily life circumstances. i find this knowledge fascinating in itself!  the fact that no amount of technology or external objects or persons can bring such peace, clarity to mind and happiness validates that Buddha, Dharma (his teachings) are effective and simple with effort and faith.

i see or perceive our society as very external seekers. people seem to be in a rush, angry, unyielding, unkind…and i wonder do they even know why?  if you ask and i do, its generally about someone doing something to them, or wanting something they feel they need or deserve, it’s rather endless the stream of wants and blaming.  and yet i understand thru my practice that ALL this is an appearance to my mind.  i am no different than anybody else, i’ve shared in these thoughts and actions countless times! it is one of the many reasons i embarked or searched for some meaning to my life and to change myself, to be a better human being, to be of benefit to others…or simply to just be kind in everything i choose to react to. i can’t change your world but i can change what appears to my mind thus creating a world that reflects a subtle change of kindness…happiness.

this image has many interpretations…what a tangled web we weave from our delusions….home is the journey within…what do you see?