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  • #11083
    burgs
    Keymaster

    What is the Mind. The Nature of Mental Kamma

    [See the full post at: Course: Living Dhamma – Lesson 6]

    #11577
    Miranda
    Participant

    It can be so difficult to figure out what’s actually going on in our minds. Sometimes you hardly register that anything’s even wrong, but then when you home in on it and try and figure it out, it does help. Talking to someone can help to crystallise the issue(s). And it often comes back to the same old things – in my case, facing uncertainty and instability and change, and trying to accept it and be with it rather than control what the outcome will be when it hasn’t reached that point yet. Trying to find stability in the instability. Letting go and trusting life. If only it was a bit easier to do! But there are times when it is easier and times when it is more difficult, even though the circumstances haven’t changed – perhaps that is when the karmic support in the background is changing?

    #11607
    Kirsten
    Participant

    I find letting go very difficult too Miranda and admit to being very controlling as a result of feeling very insecure in life. That feeling has always been with me since I was a child even though I was always supported materially. There was just a feeling of not being safe and needing others to look after me. I fully understand the idea that 90% of karma is mental karma and struggle with stability of mind which meditation helps enormously. The five hindrances are interesting. Doubt and Restlessness jump out immediately as culprits. I look for the middle way with doubt as it is easy to have faith but important not to be gullible! I notice mental karma a lot when I jump to react to things and realise that what I assumed happened didn’t actually happen or that person didn’t actually say that or mean that but some stock of reactions/tendencies in me is making me feel aggrieved. It feels very real, the notion of mental karma – very easy to say, yes I see that in my life.

    #11837
    burgs
    Keymaster

    With regards to the feeling of needing to know ( or certainly) that over comes doubt, there are many times in life when we can’t know yet, or all the contributing factors in a decision that we need to make, haven’t come to into play yet. This is where we need to reflect on the role that time plays in the unfolding of things and find patience ( next weeks topic) as an antidote to uncertainty, rather than seek uncertainty. This helps us to fins a way of being more stable within the “flux” and constantly changing conditions of life’s ebb and flow, rather than always seek to neon fixed ground. finding the courage to be in the change, brings much more confidence to be with things as they unfold rather than always worrying about and anticipating the out come…This is a very important thing to reflect upon. Something to reflect upon as part of next week’s lesson

    #11872
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu to Virtue indeed! ☺
    That’s really interesting and makes perfect sense. Thanks Burgs. I do find it confusing at times as I am not sure where the thoughts and feelings come from, especially the guilt but I guess jealousy is jealousy and resentment is resentment so it doesn’t really matter where it comes from when it comes to being with it.
    I do mostly make best effort to live virtuously and it is often a port in a storm. I truly believe like you say, that there is no higher truth than to live virtuously. My virtuous actions are however sometimes restraint rather than a effortless way of being as yet but that still feels better to me than how it does when I don’t restrain some of my less noble urges. What I wonder about sometimes is the best foot forward in closing the gap between what I present to the world and my shadow or mental karma as that gap is ginormous. The gap is so big I didn’t even realise I was carrying that karma for a long time then when I had no choice but to realise it or witness it, I was surprised at the scale, charge around and intricacy of my confusion. I also find it hard to discern how to navigate between acting authentically, honouring and being with the energy that it presents itself and ‘restraining’ it at the same time. It seems to be a fine line between restraining and suppressing and suppressing/judging is what leads to the disparity in the first place isn’t it? Is it simply a matter of an aeon of Vispassana retreats (shudders) and delving deep in appropriate settings and a mature managing in the rest of daily life?
    Thank you for the music too. It’s a beautiful journey he takes us on isn’t it? Wonderful x

    #12048
    kim
    Participant

    Hi, I have a question about Sara’s comment about feeling, or being aware of the charge, the negative emotional energy triggered “no matter where or why it’ s coming from”. Meaning is it enough to recognize the pattern in our response to let it go or should we explore the meaning or where it is coming from? Which may be very difficult if it is an old or has an subconscious root? Can we let go of conditioned responses if we don’t know where they are coming from?

    #12051
    kim
    Participant

    To say plainly that I see myself being reactive again and again because of anger, frustration and confronted with what I perceived as unfair . Completely out of synch with what I’ m trying to work on and eradicate in myself? Ok I manage sometimes by taking a breath or walking away. I understand that you can only be responsible for your response to triggers but how do eradicate those negative conditioned responses of mine? ok i didn’t go to any vipassana retreats?….

    #12127
    Maria
    Participant

    I also struggle with the understanding and the practice of ‘letting go’. A few weeks ago I was reading a book by Ajahn Brahm where he tells a story about a time when he was meditating in a monastery with the worst toothache of his life. He tried everything, especially ‘letting go’. After several days in agony, he writes:”… and eventually I saw the true meaning of let go”. From then on, all was bliss. Unfortunately he doesn’t say any more. May be Burgs can explain a little more. But it left me thinking…and I realised that I didn’t, and still don’t, understand the true meaning of ‘let go’. It must be something way beyond ‘sit on it’. When I am meditating and I have a pain in my back or my leg, sometimes I can reduce it by ‘sitting on it’. But it comes back, sometimes with a vengeance. Obviously, I can’t let go of the aversion to pain, I don’t know how to do it. It is the same for other pains or unsettling emotions (wavering of the heart base?). Perhaps it is something to do with letting go, not of what causes that pain, but the effect it has on me, so the cause becomes irrelevant but the effect is not?

    #12128
    Maria
    Participant

    Oh, by the way! Estas Tonne, excellent! And in particular that piece – Between Fire and Water.

    #13065
    burgs
    Keymaster

    Reading through some of the comments here, it is clearly the case that we find it hard to change even when we recognise that change would be appropriate and even desired or longed for. The point here is that we don’t just change because we want to. The way we are, the way we think and react to what happens to us is deeply conditioned and ingrained within us. We react the way we do because that is how we have reacted in the past and these become our accumulated habit patterns ( karmic tendencies if you like). So when I talk of letting go, I do not mean, or expect, that we are immediately going to le\”let go” our anger greed, judgement or jealousy etc, just because we have recognised it and with it a desire to change has arisen. We only change when the genuine conditions for change occur. And as you will all know from what you have learned on retreat or from practicing Vipassana with me, the conditions for change start always with reaching a state of equanimity to how things are now. It is because we are not equanimous either to our experiences of pleasure and pain, fortune and misfortune, or to the way we feel when we recognise how we are reacting, that even though we want to, we don not immediately start to change. Certainly a desire to change is a good start, but it is not enough in itself. We also have to accept how we are now, so that the ground for change can emerge within us. Remember that all anger ill will and greed ( and all the states that are born of them) are rooted in non acceptance of something or another. To hope to relinquish our habitual tenancies without first reaching a non judgemental attitude of acceptance of the fact that they are what they are, is a non starter. Our every aversion to how we are know keeps the mind locked in a judgemental state. So the letting go we are talking of here’ is the letting go of our rejection of how things are, so that they can start to change. The first stage of letting go is acceptance, the second stage is the gradual fading of the tendencies to that are to be relinquished and the charge we carry around them.

    So the say this very simply…Letting go means letting go our unwholesome attitudes to how we are first, so that over time we might let go the unwholesome reactions that arise in us themselves. Greed and anger in the end are all rooted in conflict between how things are and how we think they should be. The conflict is the ‘non acceptance” and this is what first must be let go.

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