A skillful reflection is: ‘This is the way it is.’ Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, the renowned Thai sage, said, ‘If there was to be a useful inscription to put on a medallion around your neck, it would be, “This is the way it is.” This reflection helps us to contemplate: wherever we happen to be, whatever time and place, good or bad, ‘This is the way it is.’ It is a way of bringing an acceptance in to our minds, a noting rather than a reaction.
The practice of meditation is reflecting on ‘the way it is’ in order to see the fears and desires which we create. This is quite a simple practice, but the practice of Dhamma should be very simple rather than complicated. Many methods of meditation are very complicated with many stages and techniques – so one becomes addicted to complicated things. Sometimes because of our attachment to views, we don’t really know how things are. However, the simpler we get, the more clearly, profound, and meaningful everything is to us.
We have this opportunity now to establish Right View and Right Understanding which frees us from the personality illusion: the identification with what are called the five aggregates – body, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness. So we contemplate the consciousness through the senses – eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. We can contemplate mental formations, the yesterdays of our own creation and the thoughts and views that we create. We can see them as impermanent.
We have the ability to contemplate the nature of things, to say, ‘This is the way it is’. We can notice ‘the way it is’ without adopting a personality viewpoint. So with the breath of the body, the weight of its posture, we are just witnessing and noting how it is now, in this moment. The mood of the mind, whether we feel bright or dull, happy or unhappy, is something we can know – we can witness. And the empty mind, empty of the proliferations about oneself and others, is clear. It is intelligent and compassionate. The more we really look into the habits we have developed, the clearer things become for us. So we must be willing to suffer, to be bored, miserable and anguished: it’s an opportunity to bear with these unpleasant mental states rather than suppress them. Having been born, this is the way it is at this time, at this place.
This reflection by Ajahn Sumedho is from the book, The Way It Is, Chapter “The Way It Is.”