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Reality Poses No Danger

--by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Oct 04, 2010)


Things that are real pose no danger to the mind. The real dangers in the mind are our delusions, the things we make up, the things we use to cover up reality, the stories, the preconceived notions we impose on things. When we're trying to live in those stories and notions, reality is threatening. It's always exposing the cracks in our ideas, the cracks in our ignorance, the cracks in our desires. As long as we identify with those make-believe desires, we find that threatening. But if we learn to become real people ourselves, then reality poses no dangers.

This is what the meditation is for, teaching yourself how to be real, to get in touch with what's really going on, to look at your sense of who you are and take it apart in terms of what it really is, to look at the things that you find threatening in your life and see what they really are. When you really look, you see the truth. If you're true in your looking, the truth appears. [...]

Truth is a quality of the mind that doesn't depend on figuring things out or being clever. It depends on having integrity in your actions and in your powers of observation, accepting the truth as it is. It means accepting the fact that you play a role in shaping that truth, so you have to be responsible. You have to be sensitive both to what you're doing and to the results you get, so that you can learn to be more and more skillful.

Many people think that self-acceptance means celebrating what's there already: that you're good enough, that you don't have to make any changes. That's not the case at all.

Acceptance means accepting the fact that you're responsible for a lot of your experience right now. You can't blame anybody else. And ultimately that's a good thing. If other people were ultimately responsible for shaping your experience, what could you do? You'd have to go around pleasing them all the time. But the key fact is that you're shaping your pleasures and pains here in the present moment. Some of your experience comes from past actions, but a lot comes from the way you shape things with each present intention.

So learn to be open and honest about the role you're playing in this moment.

--Thanissaro Bhikkhu, from "Meditations 3"


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7 Previous Reflections:

 
On Nov 2, 2010 Austin wrote:

Thanks Viral, for a beautiful and helpful reflection.



On Oct 18, 2010 viral wrote:

From Sensitivity to Sensibility Being sensitive is a mixed blessing. Sensitivity to feelings or situations can be a great quality, but it can also quickly turn negative: “He’s so sensitive – being around him is like walking on eggshells.” What makes it a positive quality is a certain awareness of what’s beneath the surface, both within ourselves and in other people. It means picking up on subtle clues, reading between the lines, knowing our own intentions, and being able to distinguish between what we’re picking up from other people, and our own reactions.   Sensitivity gets to be a liability when that awareness isn’t accompanied with a sense of balance. The danger is that it becomes self-oriented – we lose perspective and our own feelings become exaggerated and hyper-important. It’s even trickier when it doesn’t seem self-oriented – for instance, sensitivity to other people’s pain. Even with this, if we  See full.

From Sensitivity to Sensibility

Being sensitive is a mixed blessing. Sensitivity to feelings or situations can be a great quality, but it can also quickly turn negative: “He’s so sensitive – being around him is like walking on eggshells.” What makes it a positive quality is a certain awareness of what’s beneath the surface, both within ourselves and in other people. It means picking up on subtle clues, reading between the lines, knowing our own intentions, and being able to distinguish between what we’re picking up from other people, and our own reactions.

 

Sensitivity gets to be a liability when that awareness isn’t accompanied with a sense of balance. The danger is that it becomes self-oriented – we lose perspective and our own feelings become exaggerated and hyper-important. It’s even trickier when it doesn’t seem self-oriented – for instance, sensitivity to other people’s pain. Even with this, if we get wrapped up in our reaction to someone’s pain, our own reactivity becomes a distraction and it becomes counter-productive. It’s like jumping into the water to bring someone to safety, but then not being able to swim. So having an acute and even empathic perceptivity can be deeply helpful, but if it doesn’t come with equanimity, it’s limited in its ability to support someone in transforming a challenge. True compassion, then, is about sharing (com) the pain (passio), without sharing the suffering.

 

The key is to ground sensitivity with equanimity – whatever we are aware of, are we remaining in a space of radical acceptance? Radical (coming from the Latin, radix, which means “root”) in the sense that it is goes to the heart of the matter and fully embraces what it finds there. And an acceptance that is more of an embrace of everything that *is* – without any resistance to the natural flow of internal feelings and external manifestations. When we come across something extremely pleasant, can we remain fully present, being fulfilled by it without fear of losing it? When we become aware of something painful, can we be completely objective to that pain, not subjecting it to habituated reactions, but instead allowing it to ebb and flow according to its own natural pattern? If so, we recognize that we actually have agency in any situation. Our sensitivity helps us pick up additional, useful, information, and our balance serves as a foundation for exercising a certain respons-ability, an ability to choose how we want to respond.

 

Then, that same sensitivity, combined with this responsibility, becomes sensibility – the faculty of attuning ourselves to deeper levels of experience, and having the wisdom to learn from and act in accordance to our dynamic reality. 

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On Oct 7, 2010 choua wei cong wrote:

hi my name is wei cong i want to share with with you  about a girl she is 17 years old she got problem, the problem with her is that she will
never grow up and the body is like a baby it really heartberaking to see her like this and i remember her parent telling the reporter that they believe their child
have a purpose but i don't understand why the parent say that to the reporter and after the show finish i go trough my mine and think why the parent say that
i take 5 day to understand meanig of that because she born to motivate people what i mean some people the problem come to them i just feel dad they want to
give up but people see her suffering people may be changed their mine that why i alway believe that people live with purpose



On Oct 5, 2010 vaishnavi wrote:

I want to tell people that they should be just truthful because this truth will make their and others heart very very happy and their minds will be away from tensions.So i just say be truthful.Try saying truth then feel the happie ness.



On Oct 5, 2010 Rod Templin wrote:

What if we are good enough just as we are in this moment, and there isn't anything we need to change. That knowingness, which is truth, is what sets us free. No resistance, no attachment, no judgement sets us all free!GZDLK



On Oct 5, 2010 Austin wrote:

I heartily recommend Nathaniel Branden's work on The Six Pillars of Self Esteem for a thorough treatment of this subject.  The six practices/pillars are 1.living consciously, 2. self-acceptance, 3. self-responsibility,  4. self-assertiveness,  5. living purposefuly,  6. personal integrity.



On Oct 5, 2010 Austin wrote:

A pivotal gem from the sage Bhikkhuji.  I am learning the same lesson in the following words: Better to follow the truth wherever it leads than to live in a world of illusions.