Peace. Restfulness. Wholeness. Aren’t these the kind of experiences that we seek? A sense of not having to rush to the future or get anxious about it; to not be pushed by time? And wouldn’t it be a relief to not have to handle and juggle all kinds of stuff, or pack things away into boxes, or tidy things up and sort things out? How satisfying it would feel if all that stress could fade out!
One skill in meditation is that of releasing the mind from its contents. Is that possible? Mental content gets so intense that we even think the comings and goings, the pulling and pushing that infect our world are the mind. But this is mental content: you can step back and be aware of it, and be aware of the mind creating it in a world of time and space – with the notion that I am a something that moves through that time and space. Endlessly, until I die. That creation, that view, is samsara, the endless rolling on, and it is suffering. So to release the contents is to release the world of time and space.
What is this world that I’m referring to? This world is an experience of differentiations that trigger mental activities, such as eagerness and anxiety, love and fear. The release of the world is through handling these mental activities with clarity and compassion as they arise in awareness. In terms of awareness, the differentiations begin with the sense of ‘myself’ and ‘the world’ – here I am and then there’s everything else. It becomes sharpened into there’s me and there’s you, and there’s me and this you, and that one, and him and her.
There’s a host of differentiations – race, gender, size, wealth, popularity, friend, foe, right and wrong. Even when we close our eyes, differentiations occur such as between what I am and what I should be, what I remember, what I should do and how I’m doing, how I could be doing if only …
All these agitate the mind and become the basis for conflict. No peace, no rest, no wholeness.
This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from the article, “Healing the Cracks.”