Radical Reflection

Kittisaro

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We feel we can capture something by thinking about it. In reality, when we grasp at thoughts, the very process of trying to possess a piece of life ensures that it continually eludes us. We can never hold on, so the thoughts go round and round.

The transformative power of a conscious, mindful thought is that it reveals its own transiency. For example, the thought “Who is thinking?” is an invitation to make contact with the present moment. In doing so, the thinking process is recognized for what it is. When we’re not so enchanted by our thoughts, we notice something else, something quite simple. We notice that all thoughts manifest and dissolve back into silent listening. This is a great relief. We don’t have to become shaped by our thinking. We can be liberated from its bondage. In seeing thought as “just thought,” the sky of the heart is revealed, with no footprints. “You won’t find the sage out there.” When there is wisdom, the endless searching for happiness “somewhere else” vanishes. Where is there to go? Beautiful thoughts and ugly thoughts, all arise and cease in awareness, and yet awareness remains unmoved.

Awakening means a fundamental shift takes place. It is a shift from looking for ourselves outside in the ten thousand things to recognizing that our true nature is beyond definition. That transformation of understanding is the work of wisdom, the essential quality of heart that carries us across the turbulent sea of suffering to safety and ease. The Buddha refers to this liberating activity as Yoniso manasikara. It is often translated as “wisely reflecting.” Yoni means “womb” and manas refers to the mind. Taken as a whole we can interpret the phrase as “placing the mind and its activities in the womb of awareness.” Wise reflection does not stop at the superficial cognition of the world, but it plumbs the depths of awareness, exploring the unmoving ground of “knowing” within which all the apparent differences of life manifest. I like the English translation “radical reflection” for this significant term, since it echoes the “re-membering” of all phenomena to its source, the matrix of awareness that makes all experience possible.

The word radical has its etymological connection to root. Radical reflection contemplates the root, the origin, the place where all things merge.

Kittisaro is a former monk and the founder of a hermitage in South Africa. Excerpt above from the article, Tangled in Thought.

Seed questions for reflection: What does 'radical reflection' mean to you? Can you share an experience of a time you were able to connect with the unmoving ground of 'knowing' within which all apparent differences of life manifest? What helps you place your mind and its activities in the womb of awareness?

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6 Previous Reflections:

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    On Apr 14, 2021 S L Sethi wrote:
    It is so complex. this intellectual acrobat. Narrative after narrative... endlessly... all emerging snd disappearing.. sound so attractive but one cannot hold to bubbles.. till miracle occurs within.

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    On Apr 14, 2021 Anil Pandit wrote:
    Prefer to articulate it as 'Radial Reflection'. To reflect back radial thought-flow emanating from the center towards outer periphery(circumference).

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    On Apr 13, 2021 David T. Matta wrote:
    Radical reflection means no reflection at all but rather perception. In this particular case, it is the perception of thoughts, unveiling their true nature as transient and without substance. It might be the only way not to get yoked by them but, on the contrary, to yoke them to the pole of awareness. I had a taste of this during mindfulness practice only to fall afterwards to identifying with them and letting them direct me in life. May these auspicious moments multiply for me and all. It is quite liberating.

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    On Apr 10, 2021 David Doane wrote:
    It is said when you stop chasing the butterfly it comes and lands gently on your shoulder. As Kittasaropoints out, the word radical means root. Radical reflection means root reflection. Root reflection is reflection that is of and from the root or source which for me is Being, Consciousness, Basic Reality, God, which is the womb of awareness. I am ongoingly in and out of awareness of this womb of all that incudes awareness and knowing. I don't know how I initially became aware of the womb of awareness -- I think by listening, reading, discussing, reflecting -- I know becoming aware of it helps me to more frequently be aware of it and be aware that I and all creation are a manifestation of the womb of awareness.

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    On Apr 9, 2021 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    Radical reflection means to be aware of the root cause of suffering with an open mind and open heart. Awareness clears my visionclouded by my ignorance of who or what I am; how my clear seeing is affected by my selfish thoughts, selfish desires and selfish acts. Awareness liberates from my self-created mental and emotionalprison. Awareness is the inner light that helps me see my path of life clearly so thatI do not get astray or get lost. Self-awareness is the light within me, the voice within me untouchedby the self-createdclouds and mental deafening noises. The word awareness is the key word that keeps me awake for walking on the wise path of living. It keeps me awake of what kinds of thoughts and emotions are arising in my mind and what kinds of words are coming from my mouth, and what kinds of sounds I am hearing in my ears and what kinds of things I am watching with my eyes and how am I using my hands, helping me and others or hurting me and others. Awareness helps me learn from m... [View Full Comment] Radical reflection means to be aware of the root cause of suffering with an open mind and open heart. Awareness clears my visionclouded by my ignorance of who or what I am; how my clear seeing is affected by my selfish thoughts, selfish desires and selfish acts. Awareness liberates from my self-created mental and emotionalprison. Awareness is the inner light that helps me see my path of life clearly so thatI do not get astray or get lost. Self-awareness is the light within me, the voice within me untouchedby the self-createdclouds and mental deafening noises.
    The word awareness is the key word that keeps me awake for walking on the
    wise path of living. It keeps me awake of what kinds of thoughts and emotions are arising in my mind and what kinds of words are coming from my mouth, and what kinds of sounds I am hearing in my ears and what kinds of things I am watching with my eyes and how am I using my hands, helping me and others or hurting me and others.
    Awareness helps me learn from myself and become wise. This an ongoing process in me. The awareness questionthatI ask to myself is, " Am I sleeping or am I awake?". I have made a clear and wise choice of remaining awake in my mind and heart. The light of awareness is my path of living life fully, attaining Nirvana, freeing from the egotistic self, waking up from separatenessinto the whole.From being a fragment to being the indivisible whole. It is becoming a Buddha, the one who becomes aware of the wholeness
    of life and lives for the welfare of all beings. I am on this way and I am not hurrying.
    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave'






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