This talk is the first in a series on the Seven Factors of Awakening, which are found in all lineages of Buddhism. These are factors that we nurture and develop on the path of awakening, as well as being descriptors of the awakened state.
Here, Tina provides an overview of the Seven Factors and how they can be used in our practice. She also describes in more detail the first factor of Mindfulness, which balances the other six.
Tina is a meditation teacher who leads retreats and offers spiritual guidance and mentoring to practitioners worldwide. Her mission as a teacher is to foster awakening and its embodiment in worldly life, through the application of authentic, rigorous Buddhist and modern practices.
Tina learned to meditate in 1976, at age 13. In her late twenties, after many years of practice in Buddhist and modern non-dual traditions, she undertook an intensive year-long solo retreat during which a profound awakening to Reality occurred. Some years after that, Tina attended a retreat with Burmese meditation master Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, who ordained her as a Buddhist nun and later, authorized her to teach. During the retreat, Tina became the first Western woman to complete the entire Samatha path in this lineage. Tina also took refuge with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, a Tibetan Dzogchen teacher, and was initiated into the Nyingma lineage.
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Speaker 1 00:01:18 And in Buddhism they’re known as, as inner wealth, you know, they’re really considered very key to a person’s unfoldment and they’re there seem to be, um, the opposite of the hindrances and defilements, which I’ll get to in a minute, in all three of the major lineages of Buddhism they are mentioned and worked with. So that’s Teva, Buddhism, MAANA, which then is a part of, and then, um, Tibetan Buddhism bona, the, the seven factors of awakening are in all three and there aren’t that many things that are really similar in all three. So it really points to the importance of the Buddha placed on these. And, um, and he really felt that they were, you know, if you want, if one wants to know about awakening, these are factors that can be cultivated for that. And he also pointed to, um, when he was asked once about ultimate reality, you know, how to understand more about ultimate reality, he pointed to the seven factors of awakening.
Speaker 1 00:02:28 So, um, in terms of being a part of a person’s experience from the awaken state, so the seven factors, um, they are capacities that we have, we already have them. So we don’t, you know, these aren’t things we need to go out and get we’re seen as already having them, but, um, how well developed are they? So, you know, this is in each of these, we can develop them through certain, um, practices, certain ways of orienting to the world. And, um, they are also, they are ways that we relate to our experience and to what’s arising, um, in a way that is more free from suffering. So the seven factors, I’ll just name them. Uh, the first is mindfulness, and then I’m gonna talk about that in this, um, in this talk and that Sati, and it seen as the, kind of in the middle that balances the two sets of the other factors.
Speaker 1 00:03:37 So this mindfulness is really seen as being required for everything. And I’ll talk about what do we mean by mindfulness because it’s not the term that we now see, you know, mindfulness magazine on the checkout at, at whole foods. That’s not the mindfulness I’m talking about. I’m, I’m really talking about a specific Buddhist understanding of that. And then the next three are investigation effort and joy, or sometimes rapture, and those are considered the, um, activating factors. So these are the factors that bring more, um, you know, more energy and, uh, you know, are more active in the, in our practice. And then the second set are serenity or tranquility concentration and equanimity, and these are considered to be calming factors.
Speaker 1 00:04:35 So the, as I mentioned, um, the seven factors do offset the hindrances and defilements, so they’re not like in a one to one ratio to them, but, um, they’re said to, um, basically they, in a way replace our personality patterning. These are factors of our deeper nature that as the sense of the, the me, the separate self thins out, these are more and more, um, accessible and more and more present in our awareness to replace the ego self in a way you could think about it like that. There’s, um, I like there’s a Jack cornfield, a very well known te Oden teacher, um, talks about he re references a native American story where, um, in talking about what we wanna cultivate in our life or what we are cultivating through our actions, whether it’s intentional or not to a story of, um, a, a, like a pack of wolves.
Speaker 1 00:05:42 And when you see the Wolf babies trying to get the food, you know, whatever, if the Wolf baby, you know, if the Wolf pop gets fed, that’s gonna be the larger pop. Or I see this, I have bird feeders. And I, when at certain time in the spring, the parent birds are out there and the little birds are chasing after I’m trying to get fed and whatever those little birds that get more food put in their mouths, they’re gonna be the stronger birds that end up, you know, being more, um, more present and surviving. And so the relationship of the story is what are we feeding in our life? Are we feeding the hindrances? And defilements our personality patterning, or are we actually feeding and cultivating these seven factors?
Speaker 1 00:06:33 And so, um, the hindrances is I’ll just go through them. Um, desire, aversion or ill will. So desire is wanting things, you know, when we’re kind of, um, when we’re, we’re going into suffering for wanting things, aver or ill will consists of anger, hatred, and fear S sloth and torper is the next one. And that that’s kind of a sleepiness dullness, restlessness, and remorse is the next one. And this is ruminating over things that we have done that we wish we hadn’t, that weren’t skillful or things we haven’t done, then what we wish we had done. And we’re ruminating, cuz we didn’t have the courage to do that, or it can also be restlessness in the body. And then the fifth hindrance is doubt doubt in our, in our practice doubt in the teachings, the teacher or our own capacities. And then the defilements are considered a more core.
Speaker 1 00:07:37 Um, part really are the grooves and our consciousness that are, are closer to the bone. And those then come down to the three, which are the same as the first three hindrances desire, aversion and delusion, which is kind a kind of falling asleep on oneself, kind of, um, you know, confusion or where we just, you know, sort of don’t take action on things. That’s more in the delusion category. So the seven factors are said to offset these when we’re cultivating the seven factors, the, the hindrances and defilements are reducing. So, um, mindfulness then is the first factor that I’ll talk about tonight and it’s considered to be always useful that it’s, it’s a balancing factor, um, in, of balancing these other two groups. And, um, so it balances the activation and the calming. So really we need to have both of these in, in a level of balance overall in our practice, both on and off the cushion.
Speaker 1 00:08:51 I like to think of it like in your posture, you know, if you have a good meditation posture, it’s alert and that’s the activating, but it’s also relaxed and that’s the calming. So if you, you know, if you ever notice when you’re sitting, when your posture’s really supportive, it’s not when you’re like ramrod straight and you know, anxious, it has to have some relaxation. And it’s also not like when we’re doing the nods, you know, we’re falling asleep, there’s not enough alertness there. So there’s that balance between the two that’s needed, both on the cushion and in life and the activating factors then offset a sluggishness. So like in Cho Buddhism, they’ve really got the hindrances and defilements down to two categories also in Tibetan Buddhism, you’ll hear this talked about where it, there seemed to be either sinking mind, which is more the dullness, the sluggishness or rising mind, which is, you know, the agitation of the mind, just thinking, thinking, thinking all the time.
Speaker 1 00:09:55 And so these as a group can offset them. So the activating factors offset the sluggishness, the thinking mind, and this is again developing investigation, energy and joy, those offset the sluggishness, and also can offset, um, you know, depression where depression has more of a tone of sinking of sluggishness. And the activating factors are more similar to the Vipasana practice in Teva and Buddhism because there’s a lot of investigation in that it’s a much more active practice and then the calming factors offset agitation. And this is the rising mind, um, and can also be seen as an antidote to anxiety, which tends to be more, more agitated. And these are serenity concentration and equanimity are the three factors in the, in the calming, um, section and the, so to practice in tear Vava and Buddhism really is more, has more, um, focus on these factors. So each of the practices include all seven factors, but you know, there’s a little bit of a leaning towards one or the other with, with the groupings and they, they work together to find this balance also the balance, the middle way between desire and aversion.
Speaker 1 00:11:31 So, um, you know, the, a title like the seven factors of awakening can sound very lofty and, um, kind of esoteric, but they’re actually quite practical and relevant to our daily lives. So even if we look at something as mundane as driving, you know, we need to have be mindful and I’ll talk about what I mean by mindfulness. Basically mindfulness is being present for either our object of meditation or to what’s happening in our experience in the moment. So we need to be mindful when our drive we’re driving just to, you know, not run into things and to be, you know, to be present to what’s happening with the driving. We need to be able to investigate, you know, if, if it’s not clear, you know, whether these cars are gonna be coming into our lane or not, we need to, you know, be paying attention to that.
Speaker 1 00:12:28 And curious, we need to have enough energy. We don’t wanna be falling asleep while we’re driving joy. Doesn’t sound, you know, some people like driving, but you know, there can be a way as if you’re you’re in a pleasant drive or even if it’s just giving you some space to time to yourself, there can be a certain joy that can be brought to driving. Um, serenity often we don’t think of that with driving either, but there can be a way say that we use the time we don’t have anything playing any, you know, music or radio or anything playing. Um, it can be a time really to ourselves where we can have some quiet space where we really don’t need to do anything else, concentration with driving. If conditions get harder or, or heavier, we really need to be able to, you know, focus right on, on what we’re doing and not be distracted by other things.
Speaker 1 00:13:23 And then lastly, equanimity, um, in, in this example is kind of being at peace. Like if there’s a traffic jam, yeah. There’s a traffic jam. I’m at peace with that. Or, or if, um, you know, there’s road construction or something, all of these things where driving’s gonna be a lot more, you know, pleasant and, and not negative, if we can just be present for how things are and take it all into stride. So even though these seem lofty, they’re really relevant to our daily lives as well and make, you know, they replace the hindrances. So if we can be in touch with these, we’re going to suffer less, that’s really what it comes down to. And there’s also the potential for going deeper in the path of awakening, if these are cultivated. So mindfulness then is a factor is, um, is Sati. And this is maintaining the capacity to maintain awareness of our, um, object and meditation.
Speaker 1 00:14:23 That’s one meaning of it. So regardless of the type of meditation, one is doing, we have to be aware of our object of meditation. I mean, that’s kind of the, the basic premise of meditation is that we have an object and we’re being aware of it. So I’ll just go through the four categories of practice that are in my, um, the, what is awakening program here on aircraft. So if, and if you haven’t seen that, you might check it out. Um, so the first is heart based practices. So in those, we’re aware of the object being what’s going on with the other person. Um, so like in love and kindness meditation, the, the core object is the person’s goodness. So if we’re, you know, trying to do loving kindness practice and we’re focusing on their goodness, but now we start remembering all the things we don’t like about ’em, you know, that’s not gonna make for much loving kindness.
Speaker 1 00:15:22 So, uh, so, you know, it’s even with a practice like that, we have mindful mindfulness is part of it or with, so to practice say we’re using a breath, that’s an obvious one in Vipasana, which has kind of the word mindfulness unfortunately has come to mean basically, um, everything from meditation to basket weaving, you know, I mean, I’ve seen, I’ve seen programs on mindfulness and basket weaving. I’m sure it’s good to be mindful while you’re basket weaving, but it’s not exactly what the Buddha intended, you know, so the word has really become a lot broader in the common language, but it does actually have a technical meaning Buddhism, and it applies, doesn’t just apply to PPAs and it applies to every single meditation out there. So in, in Sama, which is a focused attention category of meditation, we might be aware of the breath. The next category would be open monitoring and that’s PPAA, or she Pasana, or Chicha, Taza, and Zen.
Speaker 1 00:16:26 And in those practices really we’re aware of the object. The content might change, but we’re aware of whatever is predominant in our awareness in the present moment. And then in, in the self transcending category of practices, like Chen were aware of the ground of our awareness of the awareness that is knowing and also of the non-duality of that. So in all of these categories of practice that are being studied in neuroscience, mindfulness is important and crucial to the practice. So that’s really what we’re talking about here with Sati. We can also be mindful of fundamental reality. So, um, some of the things I’ve been talking about point to that non-duality for example, or the heart, that the way that the heart responds to situations in an unhindered way, those are aspects of fundamental reality. The three characteristics in Teva, Buddhism of, um, OFA, Anisha Anata, which equate with unsatisfactoriness, or sometimes translated as suffering.
Speaker 1 00:17:41 I think unsatisfactoriness is a more accurate translation, um, uh, UN Anisha, which is impermanence and then Anata, which is no self. Those are all the three aspects of fundamental reality and Teva Buddhism that are emphasized into Beton Buddhism. It’s really more about the ground awareness rigpa for example, in Chen. So when, as we go deeper in the path, what we’re mindful of and the, um, the purity of those, those states can deepen. So, you know, mindfulness has a big range of what we can be mindful of. Um, and just in an everyday sense, it’s being present in the present moment for whatever’s happening in our immediate experience.
Speaker 1 00:18:32 So with mindfulness, um, we can really settle into awareness. You know, there can be a way with mindfulness that it becomes sort of an ongoing experience of, of being present of having, you know, contact with kind of a, a continuous flow of, of awareness of what is rising of the phenomenon that are rising either in our experience externally or in our internal experience. And, um, we can become really established in this. So this is more the description of how does mindfulness look in the awaken state. If it’s stable, one can have a fairly continuous awareness of what’s happening in their experience in Teva and Buddhism. There’s also the four foundations of mindfulness. So, um, this is another way of understanding what we can be mindful of and really starting to see the four foundations as, um, a place of safety in a way is like a home base, um, for awareness that can give us a sense of, of security.
Speaker 1 00:19:47 So this is more how, how it’s seen in Vipasana. So there’s mindfulness of the body. So being aware of body sensations and the body can be a great anchor, even when doing, um, non-dual practices like Z Chen, it can get pretty out there. And so anchoring the body as an anchor is gives a lot of stability. If a person is having pretty, um, you know, extraordinary experiences or experiences of their nature of awakening, the body, it’s, you know, we start with the body and then the body becomes something that can ground our awareness of further down on the path. Feeling tone is another thing we can be aware of. So that was the pointer I gave at the beginning of the meditation. And in, and this is known as vena. That’s the poly word for feeling tone. And this is just noticing whether we’re our, what we’re experiencing is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
Speaker 1 00:20:50 So like say once with the breath, one can notice whether it’s pleasant or pleasant, unpleasant neutral, or any body sensations, emotions. It’s a way of, um, beta that can be really helpful because it, it corresponds to the three defilements that I mentioned. So these are the core personality patterns. This is the understanding in, in Buddhism and Teva, Buddhism, that we have desire, aversion and delusion, and these correspond to the feeling tone, Bena desire, a desire can arise as a result of pleasant. Aversion can arise as a result of unpleasant and delusion can arise when things are neutral. So sometimes if we’re noticing pleasant, unpleasant, neutral, we can notice what our attention gravitates towards, like people who are aversive types. You know, they talk about, oh, I’m an aversive type, or I’m a desire type. We all have all three, but people can lean in a certain direction.
Speaker 1 00:21:58 Like I had at one Yogi who came to numerous two week retreats that I taught and every retreat, no matter where he said, or who was there on the retreat, somebody would always bug him. You know, somebody in the retreat just always irritated him. And finally, around the third retreat, he was like, it’s me, it’s what I’m noticing. You know, it doesn’t, I can, they have the perfect situation. And I find something to bug me, you know, and he realized he was an aver type. He had the same thing happening at work, you know, and he realized the only way to have some freedom around the suffering was to work on himself and his own patterning. And he did get some freedom from it, which is really wonderful. So, you know, this could be, this is just an example of like, if we’re always noticing the unpleasant and yet a third of our time doing say mindfulness of breathing is pleasant or neutral.
Speaker 1 00:22:49 Well, what’s that about? Why am I noticing the unpleasant all the time? I’m not actually seeing reality objectively, maybe it’s even pleasant more than half the time or neutral, you know, and yet I’m focusing on the unpleasant all the time. So, you know, Benu can be a way of, of, um, deconditioning and getting some space from the automatic nature of what we notice. Or if somebody, a lot of us don’t notice neutral. And one of the things that’s happened with our modern society is that we need constant, you know, with our devices. And I, I like my cell phone as much as the next person, but we’re all undergoing a, an experiment that we haven’t signed release forms for. And it’s really affecting our, not only the, the, you know, our consciousness, but the gray matter, the synapses, and every time that we, you know, there’s an article in the wall street journal couple weeks ago about this, where we get a dopamine hit to the brain, whenever there’s a ping, or we get a text or, you know, somebody likes us or whatever, um, we’re getting physically addicted to these things.
Speaker 1 00:24:03 So, you know, this is part of, we can’t stand neutral anymore. We, you know, people used to be able to stand in a grocery line when they didn’t have cell phones and just stand there and be perfectly content to just stand there. And now if we have to stand there, you know, most of us are looking at our phone 10 times, well, we’re standing there. We can’t just, we have to be entertained. So this is where I think neutral has gotten a lot more important because the same thing happens in our life where we used to be content with neutral, and now we have to have that constant entertainment or else we go into suffering. And because we’re getting a dopamine hit every time we look at our phone. So, um, so this is, you know, this is
Speaker 1 00:25:17 So, um, so mindfulness is really about being here, being present, being aware of the phenomena that are arising with and having minimal reactivity of that. And, and also knowing when we’re caught up, that’s another really, really important part of mindfulness is knowing when we’ve gone off of our object. Do we know when we’ve gone off or is it five or 10 minutes before, you know, we’re in sitting meditation? Do we notice within a short time, or how long does that take? I mean, not to be judging ourselves, but just to say, wow, I really don’t notice when I go off, that was probably five minutes that I was lost in thought or in life off the cushion. Do I notice when I’m triggered, can I tell when I’m triggered or am I acting out the triggering where I’m just totally lost in, in anxiety or, you know, anger or, um, judgment or something?
Speaker 1 00:26:19 Can I notice that I’m triggered? So, um, and can I notice in time to stop unskillful behavior and have a minute’s pause or do I act out the unskillful behavior and then regret it later? So that’s another aspect of mindfulness is off the Christian knowing when we’re, you know, okay, I’m feeling really angry right now. I’m gonna stop before I say something that I’ll send that email that then I end up regretting later or whatever. Um, can I know what’s going on in my internal state. So I’ll just borrow a term from, uh, one of my teachers over the years, Gil Ronal. Who’s a great, um, Tara Rodden teacher and he gives a word to each of the seven factors. So I’m gonna be using these throughout the whole, um, all of the seven factors and the word that he uses for, for mindfulness is here. So it’s, I really like that pointer here. I’m here, you know, whether it’s on the cushion or whether it’s in our lives. Am I here? And, um, so that is the one word pointer for mindfulness. So I think I’ll go ahead and stop there and see if there are any comments or questions about this or about, um, anything could be about any of the programs I have also on, on aircraft. Yes. Michael,
Speaker 2 00:28:01 Get some sound. Um, yeah, there’s a, there’s a call. There seems to be a, it seems in what you’re talking about, the quality of mindfulness that there’s some kind evaluation going on. Um, I’m noticing that I’m getting angry. I then, you know, I can then make, I’m making a decision about whether to continue with that or change. Um, so the, is, is the evaluative quality a part of what you would call mindfulness? Is it,
Speaker 1 00:28:38 Yeah, yeah. That’s a really good question. I mean, I’ll get to that actually in it’s it kind of, technically it sort of falls under effort mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:29:37 And then I can either go in it and really like languish around in the anger, or I can go, you know what, just get some space, have some breaths, let it deescalate. And then there can be a wisdom as to what kind of action is necessary. There still might need to be action taken, you know? Um, but it’s coming then from a place, uh, with more wisdom rather than reactivity. So yeah, that would, that would generally fall. I mean, you’re also including investigation of what you’re saying, because it’s like, well, what am I really feeling? You know? And so this is where the factors work together in a way that, um, that allows us to be skillful and, and suffer less and cause less, less damage around us as well. Yeah. Good question though. It’s, it’s a subtlety, you know, you’re kind of seeing the subtleties of it. Other questions or comments
Speaker 3 00:30:50 I wanted to follow up on, uh, Michael’s question. Um, if we look at this from a non-dual perspective, right? Uh, ideally at some point we want to sort of get rid of the evaluator observer watch, um, in, in the post formal seated meditation, as well as in the daily life activities. So how we would, uh, reconcile them, um, this, uh, need for sort of evaluating your, um, reactions and everything, and also trying to be trying to get rid of, for that evaluator
Speaker 1 00:31:27 Uhhuh. Yeah. Well, it’s not so much what it turns into with the non-duality. It’s not, I, I wouldn’t really, I wouldn’t give the name evaluator to it. It’s more of a sense of, um, what’s skillful and what’s unskillful. I mean, I guess there is some sense of evaluation in that, but it’s more, um, like there is, if, if in, in non-duality there is a sense of, of moving towards or away from something, you know, there’s not just a sense of, of no, um, it’s not there isn’t a doer, but there is a sense of moving towards or away from things. So there’s a wisdom that comes from the non-duality of skillfulness versus UN skillfulness.
Speaker 1 00:32:23 So even, you know, if somebody’s, if in awakening, if somebody, I mean, it’s a pretty advanced state where there’s no personality material left at all. So, you know, to, um, and this is, you know, I think there’s been a lot of people over the years, at least in the west, we’ve seen the scandals and so on. We can see that people just thought, well, I’m in non-duality, whatever’s arising, it’s all coming from the ground of being anyway. So if I sleep with this student or take the money from my son guy, it’s all coming from the ground of being anyway. So, well, no, that’s, you know, harm like that is coming from the personality that’s distorting what’s arising. So, you know, we have to be careful to not forget about CELA and generally in the traditions where there are a lot of scandals people have, there’s not much emphasis on CILA, which is, is wholesome living, living in congruence with our, what we know internally.
Speaker 1 00:33:30 Because if, if, for example, you know, with awakening, there’s the sense of emptiness, unity, you know, emptiness and unity being two sides of the same coin. But if there’s a sense of non-separation with boundlessness, with non-duality, there’s a sense of boundlessness and non-separation from others harm really isn’t, um, you know, doing harm in such a way that is, um, like the things I mentioned that there isn’t a good reason to do those things. You know, I mean, hurting someone’s feelings, there might be a reason to do something like that coming from an authentic place. So I’m not including that in what I’m saying about CILA, but, um, this is where, uh, if there’s a complete lack of caring about going towards what is wise or no caring towards going, what is, why going towards what is wise? That to me, isn’t really following Buddhism. So this is where it’s not really about judgment. It’s more about wise wise effort. So that’s where the sense of, of knowing, um, of feeling, what, what is wise, what causes the least amount of suffering, or is this coming from the ego to be questioning, have that be questioned is part, part of what we’re training at? I, that was a long answer, but does what I’m saying? Make sense?
Speaker 3 00:35:10 Yeah. It seems like, uh, even in sort of non-dual state that there is still some sort of, um, I don’t wanna call it evaluation or judgment process, but sort of let’s call it wise process of knowing what we should do, what we shouldn’t do sort of thing, right?
Speaker 1 00:35:28 Yeah. Well, it’s, it’s, I would, the shoulds usually come from, so I know you’re just using language, so, but I just, I wanna be precise about that. Usually when shoulds are happening, that’s coming from some kind of inner critic or the super ego. It’s more of a sense of being, which is part of the ego structure. So the super ego keeps the ego in place. So it’s, if it’s coming from there, that’s still part of the personality structure. Um, it’s more like, um, it’s, it’s more of a feeling of, um, congruence than a should. Like, for example, I often will use the example of like say somebody, uh, earns money that isn’t declared to the IRS. They don’t get a, an independent contractor and they don’t get a, a, a, a form or w nine from the person who paid them. They could not report that.
Speaker 1 00:36:35 And, and that might be the right thing. It might be the wrong thing. So there isn’t a should from, from a completely, um, from the perspective of the absolute, from there is no right or wrong. So some, but somebody could feel into that and feel okay, I’m going to pay my taxes because I really want to support. I drive on the roads. I want kids to go to school. I want homeless people to be off the street, so I’m gonna pay my taxes anyway. And that feels right, but it’s not a should, it’s not a, like, I’m doing this cuz I should, cuz I don’t wanna get caught and this and that, or somebody could go, I’m feeling into this what’s right for me. And I’m not going to pay my taxes cuz I don’t wanna pay for bombs. So whatever portion the us spends on bombs, I’m not gonna pay that part and they could feel completely congruent doing that, but it’s not a should you know, so this is, this is where or somebody could say, well, I’m not gonna pay my taxes cuz of this and that. And that could be totally coming from the super ego because they’re an anarchist and that’s all that their ego’s about is being an anarchist. You know? So this is where it’s, it’s less about shoulds than it is about feeling what’s congruent to that specific situation.
Speaker 1 00:38:00 And those, these are all subtle places to, um, to feel into, but um, on important things in life, they, it does matter and it brings a certain kind of, uh, harmony to one’s practice. You know, when we come to the cushion, then it’s like, we’re not, um, we’re not bringing a lot of baggage and rumination to our practice and, and we’re living from a sense of our deeper nature that feels, uh, that ha leads to equanimity, which is the last of the seven factors of awakening that there can be a real equanimity in that. And also we’re not causing damage to where it comes back to us in such a way that, um, you know, is really disruptive to our life. You know, there, when, when we’re in harmony with things, usually there aren’t a lot of ripples out there. People can see why we did what we did and there’s, there’s an equanimity even in, in the world around us.
Speaker 5 00:39:10 Yeah. Makes sense. Thanks Alex.
Speaker 1 00:39:12 Sure. Thanks Andrea.
Speaker 5 00:39:30 Um, I, I think the lighting is not good enough. Yeah. Is, is probably a long answer. So, but we could continue, you know, in, in our meeting later in the week. Um, cause I wanted to talk about the, um, really the strength of the personal personality patterns or the ego dysfunction, how deeply rooted these things go.
Speaker 1 00:39:53 Yeah.
Speaker 5 00:39:54 Um, I’m finding that I don’t even have to be triggered they’re there when I wake up. So, um, as pretty intense and I’m finding that I’m able to hold the material, but I don’t feel too good.
Speaker 1 00:40:16 Mm-hmm
Speaker 5 00:40:17
Speaker 1 00:40:26 Mm-hmm
Speaker 5 00:40:27 Cause this stuff goes real
Speaker 1 00:40:30 Deep. Yeah. Yeah. The, those groups and consciousness, you know, we now know through the neuroscience that if we’ve traveled over them, hundreds of thousands, millions of times in our life, the synapses are thick.
Speaker 5 00:40:44 I think it’s even more than this life I
Speaker 1 00:40:46 Think. Right. And there’s common
Speaker 5 00:40:48 Really go back a long ways and there there’s the collective ones and then there’s the personal ones. So it seems like just a giant, huge backpack of enormous stuff that we’re all carrying around. The good news is that I’m not acting it out for the first time in my life. I’m able to hold it, but I feel worse because I’m holding it.
Speaker 1 00:41:12 Yeah. Yeah. Well that’s that’s
Speaker 5 00:41:14 But I feel better because I’m not hurting anybody around me and this is probably the first time in my life. I’ve been able to do that. Yeah. So this is a great thing, but personally, wow.
Speaker 1 00:41:28 It’s hard. It is hard. I mean the, the path is, um, it’s people think of meditation and other things like, oh, I hope you had a nice retreat, you know? And we’re like, yeah, exactly. You know,
Speaker 1 00:42:27 So that’s where you said, you’re feeling it it’s hard or you feel bad feeling it and not expressing it. There can be a temporary relief of expressing it. But ultimately when we’re, when we’re engaging in the hindrances and Def developments, like self-righteousness, for example, can feel really good. And that’s why people often will hang on to anger because self-righteousness kind of, there is something kind of, that feels good about it, but ultimately if we really feel into the subtlety of it, it’s, it’s a grading sense internally and it’s, it’s a low vibration, you know? So, oh, this
Speaker 5 00:43:10 Stuff is like, Ugh, they’re like demonst monsters from the depths. Yeah. That mean, I feel, Ugh.
Speaker 1 00:43:16 Yeah. Yeah. Well, this is where, and you know, this is where the, the four different categories of practice each approach it differently. So I’ll just go through, I’ll just go with anger since we’ve been talking about that. So the hard practices one would do, um, like if you are feeling anger, if you’re suffering, you could do the compassion practice for yourself. That would be an option. Or you could do the loving kindness practice for yourself or the person that you’re angry with. Or you could do the equanimity practice, like say some, like, you know, sometimes with equanimity, a, a bad person has good fortune and we might feel angry at them about it, like some political figures or something. Um, or are
Speaker 5 00:44:07 These the Bram of the
Speaker 1 00:44:08 Horrors that you yeah. So that, you know, we’re gonna, so three of those, you know, even potentially all four, depending on the situation could be used as an antidote. Those are considered antidotes. If you anecdotes, if you’re feeling, um, if you’re feeling really agitated by the anger, then the sumative practice, the serenity and concentration can help and can also help you get out of ruminating about it, where you’re coming back to the breath and, um, getting, you know, instead of spending 20 minutes feeling like running over it over and over and over now you’re spending 10 minutes running over it. So you’re making that Sy a, a little smaller, you know, every time you don’t go there, that’s what’s happening. If you are, we could use Vina to actually really feel into the anger. Okay. What’s anger. Like, but, but not feeling it like, okay, I’m just feeling, sitting here feeling anger and Vipasana, we’re actually investigating deeply.
Speaker 1 00:45:09 And I will talk about investigation next month, as far as the seven factors, but like anger. If we really take it apart, like anger might feel like, oh, I feel a lot of heat in my chest. Or I feel like I’m gonna explode, you know, or I feel, um, I wanna hit something or, um, you know, I wanna scream and, you know, you might do those things too. You might hit something and scream and, you know, run around the room or something to have the energy come out. But in, in BPAA where instead of the mental overlay of like anger, we’re actually investigating what it is. And even something as bad as pain, like physical pain with the pasta, it can be, um, investigated to the point where it’s almost blissful feeling. So this is where doing that level of investigation can start taking it apart to where it’s more, um, neutral, more neutral, more tolerable, like, well, can I sit with heat in my chest?
Speaker 1 00:46:18 Well, yeah, having heat in my chest really isn’t that bad. But if I’m thinking about that person and why my anger’s justified, it’s just gonna get stronger. You know? And then from the self transcending category of practice, what we can be with, if they, if someone has access to that is the ground consciousness is so vast that the anger is a, is a part of that. It’s like a subset. So the boundlessness holds the anger. So that it’s really not that big of. It’s not that big of a portion of our experience. It puts it into a perspective. And also there’s, disidentification at a really, um, fundamental level so that these things can, you know, arise and pass in such a way that we don’t get identified. Right. That’s the hardest one, you know,
Speaker 5 00:47:07 I get that, I get that. And I understand that it’s very difficult to do it. I mean, it’s real, I guess it just takes practice like everything.
Speaker 1 00:47:15 Yeah. Yeah. Well, the, the investigation, that would be the one, um, that, I mean, we can talk about this when we meet later this week, but that might be the one that could open it up a little bit. Um, so, but you know, these are, and it’s hard. I get, so just to acknowledge it is hard.
Speaker 5 00:47:36 I really get it, you know? Yeah. I understand. But doing it actually in the moment when these things are happening and I get it, but it’s all intellectual, it’s intellectual, but I mean, I do get it. Yeah. The process, you know, what’s going on, but to actually, Ugh.
Speaker 1 00:47:55 Yeah. It takes practice, you know, and, and really taking in when you get some relief, when it’s, I mean, you, you must be getting some relief because you’re not acting it out. So there’s some space that’s happening. That is more than you had at some prior time. So this is just where, you know, it takes, it takes X amount of time to have those grooves become less, become smaller where it’s not, you’re not so, you know, in it. And also it replaces, like I talked about the hindrances subsiding and getting replaced with right. These factors and other things, you know, in, in Buddhism, there’s a lot of things that replace the hindrances and defilements, but it just, you know, it takes a certain amount of time. And we know this from the neuroscience research too, that like a hun 10,000 hours of meditation of working with a practice is gonna give you a lot more than a thousand hours. You know, it it’s like, you know, when they discovered X number of years ago, 30,000 hours as a level of mastery for oh, right. Anything from meditation to violin playing exactly. You know, that, it’s just, so I think to, to trust, to take in the benefits you have received so far as a, a motivation to keep going and trusting that it will continue to get better, even though it’s hard.
Speaker 5 00:49:21 I mean, I’m not gonna be a jazz musician in two years.
Speaker 1 00:49:24
Speaker 5 00:49:33 Thank you.
Speaker 1 00:49:33 Yeah, you’re welcome. And we’re out of time.