Feel the Difference

Ajahn Sucitto

Feel the Difference

Do things that honour and support a good heart, and live up to that in yourself. We can begin to see more clearly and intimately the difference between good and bad, wholesome and unwholesome, not from an abstract judgmental way.

Feel the difference. Whatever makes you feel whole is wholesome. Whatever makes you feel bitter, regretful, unsettled, is unwholesome. No matter what people are doing to me, no matter what is going on, does a feeling of resentment make me feel good or not? The next time these things happen, notice the mood, and let go.

The Buddha says he noticed feelings of cruelty in the mind. He doesn’t say ‘I don’t know what cruelty is about.’ Knowing what ill-will, malice and dismissiveness is about, knowing we don’t like them, we can more readily put them aside. Being prepared to keep that going is Right Effort. The Right Effort is not just one hour a week, but to carry on doing it, however simple or mundane it might seem, keeping it simple and steered in the right way.

You can’t take short cuts. You can’t say: ‘I’ll forget about Right View, Right Thought, Right Livelihood, just give me some samàdhi.’ Life soon becomes wretched if you consider the path to be only one factor. If you think like that then most of your day is not relevant. You end up with a little slot at the end of your week when you do your ‘spiritual bit,’ because you have divorced spirituality and stopped taking responsibility for the way you think, speak and act.

The humble levels of thought, speech and action — if properly carried out, properly born in mind—are conducive to, and will lead to, the loftier states of samàdhi, Knowledge and Release.

Sometimes when we practise meditation we can lose sight of this. We may feel we don’t want to talk, act, speak and so on. We divorce the primary factors from the consequent factors of the path. We become dismissive: ‘don’t bother me.’

When we’re like that then ordinary life is a waste of time, dull and irritating, because we don’t practise with it.

This reflection from Ajahn Sucitto is from the book, Kalyana (pdf) pp. 12-13.