May this find you well. In preparation for this Sunday, please read and bring a copy to the sangha, the sutta titled, The Simile of the Mountain. See link below. I will be reading parts of this sutta. Spend some reflection time with the poem at the end of it.
The urgency to practice meditation and arrive at greater happiness with less suffering can be like fire lit underneath one. Of particular enthusiasm right now is to note the 6 Senses (I talked about this the last time I taught there 2 Sundays ago) as one or more come into contact with any momentary experience; is it hearing, seeing, tasting touching, smelling and/or thinking? Then mindfully bring attention to whether the feeling tone of the momentary experience is pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Bringing awareness to how the feeling tone manifests in the body, heart(emotions) and mind(thoughts) consider one's intention for the next moments. (This really stopped an irritation arising in me from manifesting through unwise speech when this past weekend, we were trying to find the handicapped parking at the Alameda County Fair and my husband would not ask anyone for direction - men are from Mars type situation) Then ask oneself the question, How am I going to respond to this CONTACT and VEDANA (feeling tone) that accompanies it and why? When will any reactive tendencies I am experiencing abate and dissipate? How does this feel once it passes away?
Is it possible to acknowledge and accpet our tendencies which are a part of our deep conditioning? It's important to know it is not our fault but the good news is that the Buddhist teachings offer us a way out of the same old automatic and unwholesome way of reacting that we've done for most of our lives which has caused so much dukkha(dissatisfaction). Liberation is a true reality for those who put in the time to practice and the time is NOW. Not when one has retired from jobs or can have more time to devote to practice in some vague future time. The time is NOW in the midst of the chaos of our daily lives with the partner, kids, extended family, unfair bosses and grinding jobs.
This is true because in the midst of the chaos is the suffering that we have control over. We can choose to continue to create it or nip it in the bud through increased mindfulness. The choice is ours. Will we take on the challenge?
Looking forward to seeing all of you,
with metta, Pauletta