I don’t feel like myself today. So where did the self we feel like go?
No matter how careful we strive to cement our circumstances, nobody remains the same or last forever. Our rejection of that essential principle is the cause we put up with dis-comfort. Human beings always long for something. We go on searching for happiness. Then we are unhappy with what we have.
This essential characteristic relates to uncertainty and distress.
We are hurt because we want stability upon a situation that is a fabrication of imagination. Its conditioned, selfless, and changing. There is nothing stable we can lean upon. Dis-comfort follows from our craving for stability. We are referring to attitudes as if they exist free and strong when in reality they are the direct opposite.
These attitudes create uncertain situation. Our reply to uncertainty is to hold. A crystallization of “identity.”
The effect is stress. We are comparing conditions as if they exist free and stable when in reality they mean the direct opposite. Fooled by appearances in this sense.
For instance, building a house we need wood, stones, machinery, craftsmen, etc… When these requirements come together, we have a new house. It is a fine house. The house makes us happy. However, because its `material`, it is, by character, impermanent. It is not forever. We are aware it will decay and become old. Every year the house gets older and needs more repair, we get agitated. Roof leaks. Every year a major paint job. The CV breaks down. Interest rates go up.This house that was a source of happiness has turned into a source of discomfort.
The reason we think uncertainty is what it is, is because we don’t understand it. Lets Look at our relation with the house, we don’t consider the causes and condition at work. If we understood karma, we would understand that it’s the way of events to come together and fall apart. We are in the habit of considering the world from the reference point of a real and unchanging me or circumstance. No matter how clear impermanence may be to our understanding, we keep holding on to things as permanent. Meditation helps us understand the great truths we rarely consider.
When we contemplate impermanence, it’s as if it shakes us awake, breaking the silence.
Stand still for an instant and observe what’s going on.
As we understand what is going on, we notice we are not masters of our own situation. If we did, we could create a life the way we wish it to be. We would have authority over circumstances. But that isn’t the situation. Every moment we get what we desire, it breaks into pieces. An accident with the car. Laid off from the job. Experience depression because we arrange our life around a permanent self in a solid world. That’s the fact of our situation.
As we carry on to think of the conditioned quality of circumstances, we question ourselves.
“What do I believe is real? Can I explain reality?
If there is anger, we like to understand what happened. We ask is it real? Will it be here tomorrow? The following day, and the day after that? If that house is real, will it be here now and in 100 years? Our theories of permanence melt in the flame of truth. Nothing in the world is permanent.
If the body were permanent, there would be no birth and death. We would not need to eat because we would never be hungry. If feelings were permanent, we would not carry on from problems to joy. If the serenity and balance we feel in meditation were permanent, we would never allow and confuse our mind. Jump around, preferring more pleasure and stimulant.
We can think of the self in the same way. We perceive ourselves as real. Support this view in one another. When feeling, perception, form, and consciousness — come together, we identify with our body and mind as I, me and myself. We have stories, ideas and make choices. Confuse them for an identity of self. If someone tells us we become offended.
We have faith we are who we believe we are. If we understand our mind. Being vulnerable, having unsteady thoughts and emotions. Understand our experiences, then preferences will change.
Selflessness is profound if we get a peek at what we can perceive. The quietness of meditation provides a possibility to observe how the “me” comes into being.
We produce thoughts. Which lock together into experiences, we describe as real. But what we are experiencing depends on many conditions. We encounter one condition for a while, it breaks down, and another desire begins.
These varied moods of mind create and present itself as a separate self.
Same as we get dressed up, put on our clothing, and brush our hair. Bringing together various details to bring about an appearance and a personality. When we get ill, we say, “I don’t feel like myself today.” So where did the self we feel like go?
Meditation is a means of “bringing to mind.”
Most of the time we keep busy bringing to mind our craving for stability, happiness, and getting what we long for. We step out of bed with that expectation, we carry it in our mind all day. Changing our habit. Focus on the mind, we notice the interconnection of experiences. Recognize the conditioned, impermanent, and selfless quality of all things.
As these truths penetrate us, our viewpoint changes. We gain wisdom.
After practicing meditation in the morning, we can deal with whatever happens to us throughout the day. Reflect on how we handle our mind. We may understand that we are gathering things, assuming they will remain together. Perhaps discover our mind slipping into pursuit of desire, getting what we long for. Recognize hostility that is happening from belief in a self. It demands attention.
If we understand uncertainty and unsteadiness of thoughts, emotions, relations, and circumstances, our responses will improve.
Our priorities will change. Our belief in the practice improves, we will be light hearten, because we have less fixation and less discomfort.
These are pointers. What we have meditated on has penetrated our being, we see the truth and experience it. Meditation on impermanence brings freedom and appreciation for what we have because it allows us to relax and enjoy the ebb and flow of life.
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Michel Jansen is a Bio dynamic (permaculture) gardener, Cook, Meditation teacher, Holistic Life coach. Living and teaching a holistic approach to life.