A Tremendous Opportunity for Stillness and Clarity

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

A Tremendous Opportunity for Stillness and Clarity

When we sit down to meditate, we are paying attention to whatever meditation object we use.

When using the breath, we are paying attention to the in-breath, the out-breath; paying attention to the body; soothing the body with the breath; settling the mind with the breath-filled body.

There’s an ease that comes from that awareness and mindfulness. There’s the appreciation of stillness, tranquility, and calm. We don’t have to get all tied up in knots trying to hang on to it or trying to force it to be there.

When we are able to step back, attend to the breath, attend to the posture, attend to mindfulness and clear comprehension, there is an ease and a settling that quite naturally takes place.

We want to direct our attention in that way, to be able to foster that, to abide and dwell in that.

It’s not about developing our personality or trying to become the perfect person. Rather, it is learning how to be mindful and appreciating the things that we do have or what we do experience.

I remember Luang Por Sumedho one time saying, “I am absolutely certain that my personality is never going to become enlightened.” It’s quite true. The nature of personality, personhood, the me-and-mine stance, is always going to be fraught with praise and blame, gain and loss, happiness and suffering. That is its very nature.

How do we step back into the process of what is in accordance with Dhamma, dhammatā? What is actually natural? What is according to nature? When we are willing to drop all the other fears, concerns, obsessions, and desires, what is left?

There is this tremendous opportunity for stillness and clarity, for well-being.

It’s a natural process that relies on the wholesome. It relies on the skillful. We use mettā, loving-kindness. That sense of mettā is a field of well-being. We do the chant, “May I abide in well-being; may everyone abide in well-being.”

That kind of wish is a very beautiful state of mind; there’s an uplift to it. It is so overwhelmingly wholesome that it’s a powerful doorway into samādhi, the settling of the mind.

It’s extremely difficult—if not impossible—for the mind to settle into stillness through analysis, comparing, and judging. That quality of loving-kindness becomes a foundation, a field that can be used in conjunction with the breath. It’s like riding the breath with loving-kindness.

There’s a moving into stillness. It’s a natural process, dhammatā. This is according to Dhamma. Secluded from sensuality, secluded from unwholesome dhammas. That’s your basic foundation for sammā-samādhi, right concentration.

We use loving-kindness. Turn to it. Make it conscious.

Again, it’s not that we don’t have it, but when it’s not made conscious and appreciated, then one misses that opportunity. It’s using yoniso manasikāra, wise attention, considered reflection, so that one is attending to the wholesome, attending to loving-kindness, to compassion, to gladness, to appreciation, to equanimity—the brahmavihāras.

These are abidings that are truly divine. They are divine abidings not because they take you somewhere else, but because they place you front and center, right in the middle of what is completely wholesome; and the mind settles.

It is the opportunity to be happy within and not be seeking for some kind of perfection or rightness of our personality that puts us in doubt and uncertainty. Rather, we fill the citta, the heart, with these wholesome qualities that the Buddha keeps pointing to over and over again.

This reflection by Ajahn Pasanno is from the book, Nourishing the Roots, “What Accords With Dhamma,” (pdf) pp. 23-24.