Learning the Pause

อาจารย์ สุจิตโต

Learning the Pause

The significant point is that when you can’t get what you want, your underlying tendencies to get exasperated or feel let down come up – and they then interpret the situation as ‘lazy disorganized people’ or ‘no one considers my feelings’.

Actually there are generally a number of causes as to why things don’t go my way — the Buddha just called it ‘dukkha’ – but the immediate reaction and interpretation are an indication of tendencies in one’s own mind.  So just to pause at that point – reactions are normal, but we can read them, learn what they are, and that they take us into suffering. 

We don’t have to guess at why things aren’t going according to plan; and jumping to a conclusion is always a move into the shadows of one’s own mind.  So, pause. A pause is not a disapproval or a judgement; it’s an opening of attention. And that allows us to respond to our reactions with mindfulness and compassion.  Pausing is an essential, deep and accessible practice.

Can you allow ten seconds for a pause in the midst of what arises?

When you take note of instances of people losing their temper or following impulses that lead to harm, even death, it’s  obviously important.  And it seems easy in theory, but the difficulty, and the learning, is that you have to face your planned drive, as well as meet the reflexes and reactions that arise when you do that: ‘What’s the point of pausing?’ ‘Not now’ ’ I have to get on.’ Pretty convincing, aren’t they?

Meeting and investigating this urge to get on (bhava tanhā) is what meditation training is about.  

Take mindfulness of breathing: the practice is to follow the exhalation into the pause phase where the abdominal muscles come to rest, as if there is no next inhalation. Then let the inhalation gather, fulfil itself and also come to rest with the upper chest and throat lightly expanded.

The pause phase is the crucial bit: it’s when the will lets go. That brings a relaxation at the end of the out-breath, and a bright opening at the end of the inhalation. As you tune into that pause, and trust letting go of the next moment, or of what to do, or even who you are – there is a growing sense of release.

This reflection by Ajahn Sucitto is from the Reflections Blog, “Learning the Pause,” Saturday 2 October 2021.

Everything is Okay

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

Everything is Okay

What the monastery provides in the world is a reminder that everything is okay, that we can live with whatever is happening, that we can ride the wave. For those who live outside the monastic sphere, our effort is to provide an alternative to the drivenness of the world. Even though you might be driving the car to work, holding down a job, looking after your aging parents, feeding your kids, or be…

Determination and Humility

อาจารย์ วีรธัมโม

Determination and Humility

So work with perceptions such as craving (taṇhā) and ask yourself, “What is craving?” Moreover, bring up the perceptions of bhava- taṇhā (the desire to become something), vibhava-taṇhā (the desire to get rid of something), and kāma-taṇhā (sense desire). What are these things and how are they operating in the mind? When and how do they cease? What does cessation mean? What does it mean to…

Questioning into Solidity

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

Questioning into Solidity

So once you catch yourself breathing uncomfortably in line with a particular assumption, turn it around to see what sensations the new assumption highlights. Try staying with those sensations as long as you can, to test them. If, compared to your earlier sensations associated with the breath, they’re easier to stay with, if they provide a more solid and spacious grounding for concentration, the as…

We Remember the Qualities

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

We Remember the Qualities

The theme of friendship is an important one to be considering as we live in the world. We were born into this world. We have a shorter or longer lifespan in this world. We don’t live separately from other people. We have the association with others as human beings. And, the friendships that we make are the ones that sustain us, support us, give us a sense of connection to each other. …It is the qu…

Better & Better

อาจารย์ ชา

Better & Better

When discernment arises, you can abandon your defilements. As your discernment grows, your behavior will change. You’ll abandon your old ways. It’s like going into the forest to look for fruit. At first you find some fruit that’s not especially good, but even though it’s sour, you take it. You carry it in your basket until you find fruits that are better than that. You throw the old fruits out of…

Refraining Is a Kind of Creativity

อาจารย์ ชยสาโร

Refraining Is a Kind of Creativity

‘Not-doing’ or refraining, is a kind of creativity. This morning I was speaking to a group of art students. I mentioned to them how much I admire Chinese brush paintings. In these works of art only a very small portion of the canvas is painted on; the effect and the power of the picture is conveyed by the relationship between the painted form or the painted area, and that which is not painted. In…

The Influence of Romanticism

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

The Influence of Romanticism

Many Westerners, when new to Buddhism, are struck by the uncanny familiarity of what seems to be its central concepts: interconnectedness, wholeness, spontaneity, ego-transcendence, non-judgmentalism, and integration of the personality. They tend not to realize that the concepts sound familiar because they are familiar. To a large extent, they come not from the Buddha’s teachings but from their hi…

To Begin Like Children

อาจารย์ เลี่ยม

To Begin Like Children

Since you have come to ask for forgiveness, I don’t want to speak about issues from the past, as these are things that lie behind us. Actually there isn’t much to settle between us in this ceremony of asking for forgiveness anyway. Still, a ceremony like this is useful on the level of your personal practice. It affects the attitudes that you maintain and carry along throughout the training of your…

Learn to Listen and Trust

อาจารย์ สุเมโธ

Learn to Listen and Trust

So awakeness, then, is learning to listen and trust in the most simple state of being. It’s not jhāna or absorption in anything. It’s pure attention. So if you trust in this purity, there is no fault in it. There are no faults in purity, are there? It’s perfect. There’s no impurity. This is where to trust, in this attentiveness to the present. Once you try to find it, then you start going into do…