All the notes were taken directly from When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
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Maitri: Loving-kindness toward oneself
Samrana: Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain
Mara: Obstacles that generate confusion and make us loose confidence in our basic wisdom
Bodhichitta: Kindness with the suffering of others
Mindfulness: Is pointing to being one with our experience
Clear Seeing, Reality, Emotions and Fear
We don’t experience the world fully unless we are willing to give up everything away.
Sometimes you just have to let everything fall apart.
Maitri is not about trying to solve a problem but to give up the control and let concepts and ideals fall apart. Appreciate, and look with curiosity.
It is part of the human condition and how we were raised “we cultivate a sense of trying to make things better because something is bad here, something is a mistake here, something is a problem here. Heaven or hell end up depending on your perception”.
Our mood swings are dictated by this subjective labels of what we think of good and bad.
Let there be room for grief and relief, misery and joy, for the unknown.
Emotions of suffering teach us that we are holding back.
Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
What seems to be undesirable in our lives doesn’t have to trigger our habitual responses. We can let it show us where we’re at and let it remind us that the teachings encourage precision and gentleness.
Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.
The most fundamental harm we can do ourselves is to remain ignorant by not having the courage to look ourselves honestly and gently.
Become familiar with fear, brave people are intimate with fear.
Look at what scares me instead of running away.
Meditation allow us to see whats happening, acknowledging without judging. The aim is not to get rid of thoughts but understand their true nature. It’s about opening and relaxing with whatever arises, without picking and choosing
Six points: Seat, legs, torso, hands, eyes, mouth.
Watch our physical movements when we are uncomfortable.
Helps to realize our opinions, and to acknowledge what crosses our minds.
Not getting outrage helps to see the cause of the suffering more clearly.
Pain is not the punishment, and pleasure is not the reward.
- Work with texture
- Work with a personal situation that brings pain
- Make the sending bigger than just to you immediate circle
If we think they are about achieving some standard of perfection, then we’ll feel defeated before we even begin.
Refraining is the gap between the arising of the craving (or instinctive reaction) and the action we take as a result.
Not causing harm requires staying awake, part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say and do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.
Honesty without kindness makes us feel grim and mean. Develop both clear seen with compassion. Compassionate actions involves working with ourselves as much as working with others. The person who we set out to help may trigger unresolved issues in us. What we reject out there is what we reject in ourselves. When we feel the tendency to blame, try to get in touch with what it feels like to be holding on to ourselves so tightly.
Start by being compassionate with those parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet. Never give up on yourself, that way you will learn not to give up on others.
Protecting ourselves from the outer suffering make us more fearful, we experience ourselves as being separated from the whole. It becomes our prison. Whenever we encounter pain in others, the instruction is to breather it in with the wish that everyone could be free of pain.
Spiritual awakening is not departing to the top of the mountain leaving our attachments and our worldliness behind, because we would be leaving all others behind – our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister, our tormented animals etc. Their suffering continues unrelieved by our personal escape.
Assume responsibility for being here in this unpredictable world, in this unique moment, in this precious human body.
Middle way is about being able to be in that space where we’re not entirely entrain about who’s right and who’s wrong. True communication can happen only in that space.
3 kinds of Awakening:
- From dream from the ordinary sleep
- Awakening at death from the dream of life
- Awakening into full enlightenment from the dream of delusion
- 8th worldly Dharmas:
6 ways to describe the “Cool Loneliness”:
- Less desire: There is no need of resolution.
- Contentment: Emptiness leads to the dissolution of the fear to loose.
- Avoiding unnecessary activity: As the need of keeping ourselves busy to avoid pain.
- Complete discipline: To come back to the present moment.
- Not wandering in the world of desire: No need to look for alternatives to confort us (food, people etc).
- Not seeking security from one’s discursive thoughts: No need to keep our internal chatter.
4 Truths of Existence
- Impermanence: Everything that ends is also the beginning of something different.
- Suffering: Coming from the expectation of what we want and we don’t want. Observe it and see where the suffering is coming from.
- Egolessness: Clear and unedited look at reality.
- Peace: The wellbeing that comes when we see the infinite pairs of opposites as complimentary.
- Devaputra mara: Seeking pleasure. Avoid it by trying to observe what we try to escape.
- Skandha mara: Need to recreate ourselves.
- Klesha mara: how to use our emotions to keep ourselves dumb or asleep. We use emotions to fool ourselves about what’s true, with that we spread the blame and make self-justifications.
- Yama mara: Fear to death. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. It refers more to the fear of life.
5 Transcendent Actions
- Generosity (giving what we think we can’t)
- Discipline (any escape that we have from reality)
- Patience (love and care for whatever we meet on the path. It’s opposite is aggression, being reactive)
- Exertion (connecting to the journey, finding the path)
- Meditation (connecting to the state of mind that does not grasp or reject anything)
- Passion (craving and addiction)
- Ignorance (denial or tendency to shut down and close out)
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