Sunday, October 14, 2007

Testing Ground

This life, and the world in which it is being lived, is like a testing ground. I just keep crashing in to things - other people, myself, situations, feelings, impulses. But, unlike that guy over there, I have choices. Results are obtained from the tests he is involved in. The idea is to learn from those results and do the work needed to improve things a bit. So why do I have such a hard time figuring out that much of what I keep doing keeps me in this endless cycle of suffering?

When I look back at my life to this point, it's rather mind boggling to see how many times I've just charged full speed ahead into the same walls...over and over and over again, surprised each and every time that the result is always the same. Talk about a dummy! It's as if at birth some kind of auto pilot switch was activated and I can't seem to override it.

The Buddha offered us a way out of suffering, and he basically said, "Don't just take my word for it, test this out yourself and see if it works for you". So why is there any hesitation at all in getting on with the test? What could be more important than the end of suffering? If my house was on fire would I wait until my favorite TV show was over before getting out and calling for help? If I was having a heart attack or began hemorrhaging would I decide to finish reading an interesting article or even listening to a Dhamma talk before calling 911? No, of course not. Those threats would be obvious, no analysis necessary, mindfulness not even required. Then how is it that I keep getting drawn in by those familiar walls that I keep slamming in to? I'm afraid I continue to spend a lot of time just going through the motions - reacting to the world around me without proper analysis of where the reactions are coming from as they begin. Lately I have been learning to put it together, and just that much is an improvement. But there is still a delay in recognition. So often I find myself poking through the wreckage to identify the cause instead of seeing it coming and preventing it in the first place.

And so the testing continues.


Gary said...

Hi Kris.

Another honest and revealing post, showing us all the nature of the human mind to settle in what's comfortable and familiar (if not wise!).

I don't know how often or what technique you use, but one suggestion with regards to training the mind to analyze where its reactions and motivations are coming from is to meditate regularly.

I've found that if a steady and peaceful mind is established whilst meditating, this can spill over into everyday consciousness. This means that not only when sitting can we investigate the patterns and habits of the mind, but also when we're in the midst of the world.

That's not to say that it's easy, or that if developed, a reflective mind never gets caught up in its desires, dislikes, and delusions, but that there's a steady increase in those moments when a light breaks through the clouds and reveals something previously hidden.

Be well,

puthujjana said...

Hi Gary,

When one practices solo, in a "non-buddhist" environment, it sometimes seems like life can throw a particular brand of monkey wrench into the mix. The day I wrote this I was dodging the whole tool box! LOL! As Ajahn Sucitto says, things suddenly got a bit wobbly! A learning, and beneficial experience.

I do know that light. On the dark and cloudy (wobbly) days I smile just knowing that it's there.

Thank you,