One of the main purposes of listening to the Dhamma is to get a sense of possibilities. We read the life of the Buddha to get a sense of what a human being can do, but all too often his story seems to be off there in never-never land, something someone far away in a far distant time was able to do.
But to what extent is it relevant to us? To what extent can we make it relevant to what we’re doing?
It’s good to bring that measuring stick up close. What would it be like to have a mind that didn’t have any doubts about the deathless? What would it be like to have a mind where there would be no possibility that it would ever be a slave again to sensual desire? What would it be like to be totally free of defilement and suffering? Do those questions interest you?
They should, because they’re directly connected with happiness. We have tendencies in our minds that make us miserable, yet we’re so used to them that we don’t think that things could be another way. This means that we end up looking for our happiness within the confines of a very narrow sense of our range, of what’s possible for us. That’s how we keep ourselves hemmed in.
…This is why it’s good to open your mind to possibilities that you might not have thought of before and to use the Buddha’s measuring stick. Even when he talks about something as simple as concentration: What would it be like to have the mind settle down so that it gains a sense of rapture, a sense of ease? Don’t keep that possibility far away. Ask yourself, where is the potential for rapture right now? Where is the potential for ease right now? It’s there. It may not be blatant, but it’s there.
This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the Dhamma Talks Section, Meditation Series book, Meditations 7, “What’s Getting in the Way.”