Trapped By Views

Ajahn Pasanno

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Awakin FeatureWe recognize that whatever comes up is just a mental formation within the mind, just a thought or just a perception. We can have a perception about something and realize that it's impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self. Sometimes we can act on views or perceptions if they have a usefulness at that particular time, but we are not building our home or sense of self within that.

To tie that in again with loving-kindness: it's being very kind to yourself and others because it doesn't take very long to recollect the last time you were at loggerheads with somebody because of a particular view. You think about it afterward and wonder, "Why did I even go there? What was the point of that anyway?"
 
If we are not trapped by views, usually we can respond quite skillfully, and that is exceedingly useful. Reflect on the sense of non-contention as a basis for loving-kindness. There is an idiom in the scriptural language that describes this mental state of attaching to views: "This alone is true, anything else is wrong." It isn't as if we have consciously thought this out or even articulated it within the mind, but it is there. We can change our views, but at that particular moment it feels like, "This is right and everything else is wrong."
 
As soon as we are in that kind of position, it's the basis for contention and conflict. It's the basis for feeling irritation and aversion, whether short or protracted. Ill will is going to be attendant on holding that particular view.

Try to make this very conscious through the cultivation of loving-kindness so as not to allow the formation of views to be so strong. Have a sense of loving-kindness and well-wishing towards yourself because you are usually the first person to suffer when you are tightly locked into a particular view. Then, of course, others suffer as well.

The active application of loving-kindness is not just a nice emotion that we are able to generate sometimes while we are sitting on our cushions. It's a very practical application of how we can interface with the world around us and not be trapped by fixed views. It lays the basis for peace and clarity.

We can let go -- we can let go of a mood, irritation, or aversion; we can let go of a view that's starting to arise; we can let go of a particular perspective of how I think it has to be; we can let go of sense desires; and we can let go of the whole construct of "I am." It's that letting go that allows us to access and experience a real peace.

Ajahn Pasanno is the abbott at the Abhayagiri Forest Monastery. Excerpt above from 'Abundant, Exalted, Immeasurable.'

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that we can let go of a view that's starting to arise? Can you share a personal story of accessing real peace by letting go of your views? What helps you let go of your perspectives?

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6 Previous Reflections:

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    On Dec 7, 2019 presidentescort.co.il wrote:



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    On Nov 25, 2019 Susan Okpani Evans wrote:
    This very thought...I refuse to be trapped by the fixed gestalt of others....I shared with myself as I shook of the irritation created by power imbalance at work.

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    On Nov 17, 2019 Prasad Kaipa wrote:
    Here is an image. It is about mid-day sun caught through leaves changing color. Reality trapped by beauty…



    Click on the image for higher-res photo.

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    On Nov 16, 2019 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    We all have our views or perspectives and opinions about what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. If we get strongly attached to our view and judge others who have a different point of view, there is a strong probability of creating contention and conflict or even enmity. When I am with people whose views are different from my views, I become aware of my point of view that is starting to arise in my mind and let it go. That meansI do not get attached to it or bound by it. I do not want to be trapped by my view that can block or hinder my empathic understanding of the other person's point of view. I believe in having open-minded and open-hearted relationships. When I operate this way our relationship thrives. When I am not trapped by my views,I can respond to the other person more skillfully meaning non-judgmentally, empathicallyand respectfully. The ideal way of freeing myself of my view is to recognize that "whatever comes up is just a mental formation w... [View Full Comment] We all have our views or perspectives and opinions about what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. If we get strongly attached to our view and judge others who have a different point of view, there is a strong probability of creating contention and conflict or even enmity. When I am with people whose views are different from my views, I become aware of my point of view that is starting to arise in my mind and let it go. That meansI do not get attached to it or bound by it. I do not want to be trapped by my view that can block or hinder my empathic understanding of the other person's point of view. I believe in having open-minded and open-hearted relationships. When I operate this way our relationship thrives. When I am not trapped by my views,I can respond to the other person more skillfully meaning non-judgmentally, empathicallyand respectfully. The ideal way of freeing myself of my view is to recognize that "whatever comes up is just a mental formation within the mind, just a thought or just a perception." (AjahnPasoma).

    RecentlyI had a conversationwith my 75 years old friend who strongly believes that old age is notproductive and not valued in the youth -oriented American culture. Her view is very strong and it has a strong impact on her mental and physical health. I have a different point of view. I know that as we get old we are perceived not productive from economic point of view. I was trying to convince her that she needs to change her point of view as it is affecting her mental and physical health. Out of my concern for helping her I Kept on trying hard to change her self-defeating attitude. As I became awareof how my way of
    thinking and communicating was causing a wall between both of us, I consciously let go of my "right" way of thinking. When I did it, my empathy and concernfor her came up in the foreground. And that resulted in strengtheningand enriching our friendship.

    I have learned to pay my attention and attachment to my own point of view that can create walls between me and the other person in our relationship. I have also learned to pay my attention to the impact of someone's point of view and behavior on me and not to react to the other. I have learned how to respond wisely in stead of reacting unmindfully. I value authentic and compassionate relationships. These are the building blocks of living peacefully.

    May we learn how to be free from our own fixated and locked in perspective that closes the door to peace and harmony!
    Namaste!
    JagdishP Dave





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    On Nov 16, 2019 David Doane wrote:
    What comes up in the mind, such as a view or perception, is a mental formation but not 'just' a mental perception, as Pasanno writes. That it's not permanent doesn't mean it's without value -- everything but Being is impermanent. It may be satisfactory and 'not-self'. The challenge is to have a view or perception without being trapped or locked in or controlled by it. We are able to let go of a view -- we can control it rather than it control us. I've accessed peace sometimes by letting go of religious and nationalistic and racial views I learned as a child, and have sometimes accessed more struggle. What helps me let go of my perspectives is being open and seeing what is rather than seeing my thinking, my prejudices, my preconceived notions, and my expectations.

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