How to experience peace in one step

Practice letting go of your suffering everyday.

Easier said than done right? Maybe. Maybe not. In Buddhism, one of the Four Noble Truths is to acknowledge that we suffer. And the path to enlightenment is to find the source of that suffering, acknowledge it and let it go.

Let go or be dragged

I recently did a ‘Neti Neti’ meditation with David Wagner. Neti Neti in sanskrit means ‘not this, not this.’ The focus of the meditation was on all of the things we aren’t. We are not our stuff, our thoughts, even our bodies. We are the ones who dwell within.

In thinking about how to separate my ‘Self’ from my stuff (material & otherwise), I always come back to rediscovering myself as the watcher.

It’s easy to get caught up in mind activity, especially when it’s turbulent. But, I’m truly in touch with myself, when I’m the one watching the turbulence. That is to say that rather than trying to stop the chaotic thoughts, take a back seat and watch.

When you notice that you’re anxious or your shoulder hurts, for example, YOU or your ‘SELF’ is the one who sees it. You are NOT the hurt shoulder, you are the one who notices.

Seems a little too obscure? Try this beautiful practice from Thich Nhat Hanh in ‘The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching.” When you’re feeling pain such as fear or anger, imagine it as a baby. You are the holder of the suffering. You can give it the presence it requires by acknowledging it, not shoving it away. And then you can put it down – sated.

If you’re meditating and your mind wanders, observe (without judgement) that you are meditating and your mind is wandering.  YOU are the one observing.

And here’s the tricky part, acknowledge that everything is temporary – pain,  happiness, hunger, satiety – all of it is transient.  So, you don’t have to cling to any of it.  And letting go of that clinging is another way of stopping the cycle of your own suffering.

Ready to stop suffering?  The path to peace IS the peace.

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4 thoughts on “How to experience peace in one step

  1. This aspect of “taking a seat back and watching” still creates a slight division between the subject and the object, its’ kind of like performing Husserl’s phenemological reduction where we reflect upon your consciousness which is reflecting upon itself, “what is it that I am thinking about right now?” instead of thinking content based thoughts. This is… fantastic. This is called “Circumstances are deprived, man is not deprived”

    But, I enjoy the moment after this when the division between self and object becomes dissolved, when absolute samadhi is riched, or as rinzai says “Neither Man nor circumstances are deprived”

    “Rinzai Zenji’s 4 categories of samadhi are as follows:
    1. Man is deprived; circumstances are not deprived.
    2. Circumstances are deprived; man is not deprived.
    3. Both man and circumstances are deprived.
    4. Neither man nor circumstances are deprived.”

    I know this is difficult to talk about, but does this make any sense? There is a kind of mode during meditation when you really feel like a floating spectator realizing you are not your body, but then there is another mode of meditation when you have an “off-senstation”, when your body/mind melts away, you have “no mind”, “shikantaza” etc.

    I love shikantaza! As a philosopher I’ve already been used to the feeling of the “floating ego”, as you are talking about, but only recently through meditation have I been able to dissolve into the bare existence!

  2. And a healthy, wondrous, and happy new year to you . We hope to see you, Peanut, in this new year. Love, Née and Ben

    Sent from my iPad


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