Opening to insight

An  excerpt from Wildmind Buddhist Meditation website to think about. Know that I am not a Buddhist and I post texts from many different religious traditions. I have practiced Visassana (mindfulness) meditation for many years as well because it need no be attached to any belief system.

I have found great comfort in a skill I seem to have acquired naturally and perhaps in part while majoring in religion at university and that is finding “truth” in many spiritual teachings. And at the same time I have no distinct belief. Of course that is part of what Buddhism teaches expressly. We do not know anything and that is what this piece talks about. There are a few Hindi words in the text of this piece, I believe you can probably get them all translated here if you are not familiar with them as they are now commonly used among Buddhist Americans.

This is just a small excerpt of a much longer article that you can read here.

The way we see our existence is thickly colored by the emotions and assumptions we hold, and leaves little room for compassion. Our world is perceived in a flickering half-light of wants and dislikes, and accounted for by an unquestioning common sense. We are so used to this perspective that it is difficult for us even to realize there is any problem. We repress the uncomfortable awareness that we understand nothing about life.

What can set the seal on this repression is that pain and fear often accompany our glimpses of reality. Despite the childhood years spent learning about life and developing an urbane adult shell, we have still not fully adjusted to it. For when death and other exposures to reality force open our eyes, we can bear to look at them only briefly, if at all.

We really cannot bear much reality. It shakes the jelly at our core when friends or lovers separate from us, or when they die. Such experiences can be like lightning striking at night. Seeing for an instant just how much what we relied upon was founded on wishful thinking, we are reduced to a bare and naked state, in a vast, unfathomable universe.

Yet life must go on. Numbly, we piece it back together. It is the old, old story: human existence is fragile, uncertain and inexplicable. Samsara, the endless cycle, is profoundly unsatisfactory. So it is a definite relief when, soon enough, the terrible questions are washed over by familiar concerns: work, chat, shopping, washing-up, bedtime drink. We welcome the crack in reality closing again. Yet, as we return to normal we know something has been lost. Along with the relief of returning to daily life, we feel once more imprisoned by a wall of unknowing.

Can there be a middle way between the unbearable intensity of reality and the unbearable dullness of ignorance? If there is, it must somehow be through relying on something real, and not on wishful thinking The path that transcends these painful extremes is the Dharma. Buddhist practices, because they arise out of an insight into reality, are effective in helping us to come to terms with it. (read the whole article here)

3 thoughts on “Opening to insight

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  1. Just went to a Medicine Buddha talk. Medicine Buddha, is one of my favorite images in Buddhism. My thanka, I got while in Tibet, was destroyed by the tornado, and I’m thinking of replacing it with Medicine Buddha. You can get perfectly fine ones, by Tibetans living in exhile in India.

    Right now, kind of mixing Vedanta, Buddhism and Biofeedback!

    But, for me, instead of taking more seroquel for anxiety, I sat in meditation for times as long as 4 hours. Now the biofeedback has helped more with anxiety than any pill.
    During biofeedback, I do traditional Hindu style japa, which is pretty identical to doing Buddhist meditation on mala beads.

    Maybe too eclectic here!


  2. Here are two mantras for you, Gianna:

    Meditation not medication…
    Dharma, not pHARMa…

    Personally, my first weeklong silent meditation retreat was more powerful than an entire lifetime of therapy.

    peace, sister –

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