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An old mans ponderings

howhow Veteran Veteran

We all have some states of thought & emotion and physicality that we have become relatively adept at practicing with, but what about those other states that truly challenge our meditative skills.

Those states where we fall down more often that we remember getting back up from or better yet consistently seem to only wake up to the potential of approaching something meditatively after it’s already come and gone, again. Those states whose mere approach seem to have us acting like meditative amnesiacs.

Given that everything is impermanent, especially us,

do you see such states as unripe fruit that need only be left passively on the vine to ripen whenever?


is this just an avoiding of an uncomfortable job of active foliage pruning which might allow a quicker fruition and harvest before season’s end.



  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Would a 'trigger' of something that sets us off in some way relate to what you are describing? Like particular topics that 'trigger' us?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    To put it another way perhaps. Do we work on our strengths or weaknesses? It certainly is easier to focus on our strengths, I've heard it said though that focusing on developing our weaknesses leads to greater progress, or a quicker fruition as you say.

    Not that I've really given it much conscious thought but I suppose I focus on my strengths generally but I'm not passive about my weaknesses, I do put in effort but don't really put much pressure on myself or expect any great results.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    Would a 'trigger' of something that sets us off in some way relate to what you are describing? Like particular topics that 'trigger' us?

    Yes, any precursor to meeting with such a state could be a trigger. The state I am describing is both whatever threatens an attachment of ours as well as our reaction to that threat.
    Anything that makes it difficult to be equanimous or empathetic or loving or balanced or objective or open or wise or still when it was called for or active when that was called for, could be part of a description of such a state.

    Where the coarser versions of these states do get addressed over time in our respective practices, subtler underlying ones often start to show themselves, not so much for how we deal with them because we are often somewhat oblivious to them, but for how our practices repeatedly seem to falter in their presence.

    Where its easy to talk about where & when we can practice, I think that at a certain point it is beneficial to pay the same attention to where & when our practice repeatedly takes a holiday.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Im of the opinion that looking into our weaknesses, inquiring into them, is something that is healthy and should be done once in a while. Not too often because you feed what you give attention to.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited July 2020

    I think sometimes an arising is just like a kid having a tantrum and you just let it go. I think Thich Nhat Hanh talks about "stop, calm, rest, heal" and I think Ayya Khem talks about not needing to intellectually understand some disturbing arisings and just let them pass.

    I am reading that you can both resist the pull so to speak of emotions but also appreciate them and work with them I guess.

    "Negative emotions are transformed by resting in their essential nature"

    "If you can learn to trust in that quality of appreciating the power of your emotions rather than letting them lead you by the nose, gradually your emotions will change and begin to function in a different way. For example, your hatred will no longer express itself as a fixated involvement with particular people or things that you do not like, nor will it be projected out onto them as if your feeling was invested in them. Gradually the rage or your the greed of your desire will cease and the good qualities associated with them, that were distorted by being constantly projected outwards, will start to emerge.

    The energy of hatred has been striking out against things in the external world instead of striking at the narrowness of vision that has created the hatred. The energy of desire has been endlessly wanting to have and to hold things in the external world instead of appreciating that all the qualities it sought, such as richness and beauty, were within itself. Hatred and desire are distorted energy, the energy of your being that is essentially good.

    So when you feel strong emotions you should switch from focusing on the external object that seems to be the cause of the trouble and turn towards what you are feeling in your own body and mind."

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2020


    We all have our own particular karmic entanglements to address.

    I agree, hands down, that our emotional responses are often excellent teachers pointing out attachments that have us on a leash. The obviousness of the experience of their imposition upon our lives leave clear targets to zero in on and any resulting addressing of those attachments provides a tangible feedback to the efficacy of our practice as well as the new freedoms found off that leash.
    What of those attachments that equally leash our freedoms but only provide neutral responses. Here, the subtlety of that experience on our lives leaves no obvious teacher or target to give away its position and we usually remain oblivious to the leash that still binds us.
    The easiest example to offer might be with escapist behaviors. You know, those things that we like to do to soften the intensity of life's responsibilities. We often explain them away with thoughts of how we deserve them, or we've earned them, or they're harmless, or they are just for a little while, or everybody does them, and on & on. Activities where our practice gets avoided or shut away or ignored because in actuality that obliviousness to practicing in that moment is our underlying reason for participating in it.

    So that's why it's existence and position is more easily discerned by a meditator watching where they don't practice, than where they do.

    I might have called it subtler than some more obvious forms of attachment but perhaps its mass makes up for it like existence, where 99% of it takes up the spaces between what we call matter.

    And as others have rightly pointed out, maintaining some balance between what we might call our spiritual strengths compared to our weaknesses is important....but....a quick screening of what is usually written about (my contributions included) on this site are definitely on the heavy end of strengths.

    So what is balance?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The heavy end of positivity/strengths is a balancing act.

    According to dharma we are unbalanced. Confirmed.
    We are swamped by karmic crap, life as we knows it and our parquet flaws and hi sealings ...

    Also confirmed.

    Reality is a bitch dawg!

    To become a freesia resident before a daisy pusher, we have to flower ... which is confirming ...

    Ponder or ponder not, That The Try Is!
    Pseudo Master Yoda

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