axiom/assertion: awareness is NOT a given.
you may or may not be born with the understanding of awareness. if you’re not, you have to f’ing WORK at it and even then, you’re pre-disposed toward being easily dragged off into the weeds (by yourself) than someone who was born with the understanding of awareness.
the reason so much of buddhist practice centers around meditation (in particular, following the breath) is because there’s a good 2600 years evidence that people have a hard time turning loose of culture and society and the world and this is a grand way to manage it doing it.
the elegance of following the breath is that everyone can do it.
it takes no special skill whatever other than a willingness to let yourself be yourself until you’re able (and willing) to remain in the moment as it is instead of rolling off on any number of wishes, desires, dreams, or other distractions that range the gamut and are all too easily and readily nourished and nurtured by the world and its culture/societal demands.
Dukkha-dukkha (pain of pain) is the obvious and easily understandable suffering of physical pain, illness, old age or infirmity, bereavement, and/or death.
Viparinama-dukkha (pain of alteration) is suffering caused by change and the perception of violated expectations and/or the failure of happy moments to last.
Sankhara-dukkha (pain of formation) is a subtle form of suffering arising as a reaction to qualities of conditioned things, including things like the factors constituting the human mind.
ALL aspects of dukkha arrive either:
– because one is trying to hold something that has gone,
– because one is trying to avoid accepting that something is gone,
– because one is trying to reach for something that has not (and may never) arrive, or
– because one is trying to avoid accepting that something wanted/desired is not present.
in every case, it is the “attachment to” or “aversion from” the “other” part of the perceived duality that, unsatisfied, creates suffering. (i want ‘this’, not ‘that’.)
it is not the lacking that creates suffering. it is the desire that cannot or is not satisfied that creates the suffering.
who births the desire?
who nourishes it?
who insists it can and should be satisfied?
we do. each of us within ourselves.
if one does not really understand that this is the case, there is nothing BUT suffering to be had.
unrelenting and without relief because relief and relenting are self-given; the result of cultivating awareness and being patiently, calmly, deliberately insistent with oneself in relation to facing, accepting, then releasing these things that bring or sustain the suffering… accepting what IS rather than insisting what SHOULD BE AND IS NOT…. this is “really understanding”.
“really understanding” something is more than being intellectually cognizant of it. it is more than being able to see the pattern of it when you look for/at it. it is more than being able to dissect it and explain its parts or how/why it happens. it is more than being able to analyze.
in fact, it isn’t “really understanding” until you do it without having to think about it; until it is such a part of who you are in every moment that there is no need of intellectual process. it is beyond cerebral understanding and has become a natural, inherent, organic piece of you.
the irony, of course, is that it has always been a piece of you, but until you find it in you, it cannot be a part of you. the reason it has always been a piece of you is that no matter where you start, or how far you go without finding it, you would never BE ABLE TO FIND IT were its potential within you not there all along; an integral piece of your makeup.
may all sentient beings, boundless as the sky, have happiness and the causes of happiness.
may they be liberated, freed from the causes of suffering (dukkha).
may they rest in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.