"The Buddha compared the tendency of the mind to repeatedly organize and mistakenly become identified with the ego to a house builder. Your ego constructs a self in order to shelter itself from the anxiety and stress of the truth of suffering. You then spend your time and effort on furnishing the house and repairing damage to you. Thus you seek status, material goods, a guarantee of physical and emotional safety, and insurance against all the uncertainties of life. But through the realization of cessation, you cease to believe the delusion of your separateness and your permanence and cease to compulsively hold a shelter for your ego."
"Neither the dramatic altered states nor the subtle shift in consciousness is superior to the other. It isn't the amount of fireworks you feel, but rather how much actual lessening of grasping and arising of insight you experience and the amount of time that the mind is at ease even in difficult situations that indicates your progress toward liberation."
Phillip Moffitt describes going from a “tasting” of the mind being free from clinging (see pages 80-90) to a “direct knowing of pure awareness”, in which there is
No object of awareness
No awareness of awareness (page 153)
Why is there no suffering when this occurs? What barriers (concerns, fears) come up when you read this? Look deeply.
I think it may be fairly simplistic to say there is no suffering when this occurs. That said, there is far less suffering – and perhaps my barrier is my belief that suffering is inevitable. Then again, is that a barrier or an acceptance of reality?
I liked this quote: "What seems to me to be the actual cause of suffering is the tendency to idealize and identify with your desires so much that you becomeattached to having them fulfilled. You start to cling to the idea of getting what you want either now or in the future as being all-important. You become irritated, disappointed, or frustrated when you don't get what you want. You are not able to simply be mindful of the desire as it arises and passes."
Thinking about it, there’s a lot of cynicism that comes up when I contemplate this. In a way it seems like it makes a lot of sense, and on the other hand it just seems like a bunch of idealistic flim-flam. I actually like the part of myself that craves. It pushes me forward, even if it does so in what seems like a difficult way. I’m not so sure that I want total equanimity in my life. It seems a little – I don’t know, boring? Yes. I’m not sure if this is a barrier or this is simply the way that I am.
I’m trying to look more deeply beyond this, though. Does simply the way I am mean that I am unable to change? Is it a justification for stagnation? Or for poor internal rhyme?
So okay. What is a “direct knowing of pure awareness” anyway? To me in its purest form it means clarity. It’s an understanding of sorts, a focus of the same kind I get when I drink really good Kaldi’s coffee, without the jitteriness or resultant anxiety. It’s a lift without the fall. Or perhaps it’s just an element of balance.
But this brings me to wondering – is balance, well, boring? Perhaps I’m just drawn to – some might say addicted to – the highs and the lows. Balance doesn’t have to be boring, does it? Perhaps I’m just dismissing it out of hand.
"What seems to me to be the actual cause of suffering is the tendency to idealize and identify with your desires so much that you become attached to having them fulfilled. You start to cling to the idea of getting what you want either now or in the future as being all-important. You become irritated, disappointed, or frustrated when you don't get what you want. You are not able to simply be mindful of the desire as it arises and passes."
It's worst in the morning, when I feel alone and adrift. It gets better as the day goes on and by the afternoon I'm doing okay. What's weird is that I'm great if I wake up really early, but around this time (10 am) I start to lose it. There is no escaping your own mind, is there?
I'm a writer and performer in Berkeley, Calif. I'm married to a big Jew nose and together we have a fantastic little boy, two gorgeous dogs and the afterlife of a beautiful cat. I am represented by Miriam Altshuler of Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency. Life is good!