In Love with the World - A monk's through the bardos of living and dying
How much do I want to read more? 7/10
Add wood to the fire: deliberately bring difficult situations, aiming at beeing able to deal with any kind of circumstances.
Normal awareness see through filters, beliefs and conditioning.
Meditative awareness remove our projections, see as it is. We see things we didn't before. No longer narrowed by expectations and past experience. Our senses have greater quality and sharpness.
With this book, we enter into the interior life of a remarkable young Buddhist teacher. After setting off by himself on a wandering retreat, he immediately encounters fear, aversion, sickness, and near death. Yet the same emotional and physical difficulties that would throw the average person for a loop become opportunities for Mingyur Rinpoche to work with his mind, and to deepen his commitment to transforming adversity into awakening. His willingness to describe this process in such intimate detail has been an immense help to my own path and makes this one of the most inspiring books I have ever read.”
-- PEMA CHÖDRÖN
“In this vivid, compelling account, Mingyur Rinpoche reveals his own struggle and awakening as he faces the loss of worldly identity and the threat of dying itself.”
-- TARA BRACH
Part One - Adding wood to the fire
1- Who Are You?
I entered the traditional three-year retreat, a period of intense mind training. familiar with how the mind works, how it creates and shapes our perceptions of ourselves and the world, how the outer layers of mind—the constructed labels—function like clothing that identifies our social identities and cloaks our naked, nonfabricated state of original mind.
I can’t watch scary movies. I cannot be in big crowds. I have a terrible fear of heights, or of flying, or of dogs, or the dark. But the causes that provoke these responses do not go away; and when we find ourselves in these situations, our reactions can overwhelm us. Using our inner resources to work with these issues is our only true protection, because external circumstances change all the time and are therefore not reliable.
Adding wood to the fire deliberately brings difficult situations to the forefront so that we can work with them directly.
We take the very behaviors or circumstances that we think of as problems and turn them into allies.
When we add wood to the fire, instead of trying to smother the flames of our fears, we add more fuel, and in the process gain confidence in our capacity to work with whatever settings we find ourselves in.
We begin to rely on another aspect of mind that exists beneath our reactivity. We call this “no-self.” It’s the unconditioned awareness that reveals itself with the dissolution of the chattering mind that talks to itself throughout the day. Another way of saying this is that we switch mental gears from normal awareness to meditative awareness.
The normal awareness that guides our everyday activities is actually quite cluttered. We generally go about our days with minds filled with ideas of what we want, and how things should be, and with reactive responses to what we like and do not like. It’s as if we are wearing different pairs of glasses without knowing it, and have no idea that these filters obscure and distort our perceptions.
Let’s say we look at a mountain with normal awareness. Our mind is facing out and following our eyes to the mountain, and perhaps we’re thinking about the last time we saw this mountain.
With meditative awareness, we try to remove these filters and reduce the projections. We face inward and recognize awareness as a quality of mind itself. When we look at the mountain, there is less mental traffic between us and the mountain, fewer concepts and ideas. We see things about the mountain that we had not noticed before: the way the ridges are outlined by the shape of the trees, the changes in vegetation, or the sky that surrounds the mountain. This clear mind of awareness is always with us, whether we recognize it or not. It coexists with confusion, and with the destructive emotions and cultural conditioning that shape our ways of seeing things. But when our perception shifts to meditative or steady awareness, it is no longer narrowed by memory and expectation; whatever we see, touch, taste, smell, or hear has greater clarity and sharpness, and enlivens our interactions.
Once we become familiar with steady awareness, we still often move between this state and normal awareness.
both types of awareness exist within a dualistic construct: There is something watching and something being watched—the experience of awareness recognizing itself.
When this duality is eliminated, we drop into what we call pure—or non-dual—awareness. Non-duality is the essential quality of awareness, yet when we speak of three types of awareness—normal, meditative, and pure—we are speaking of a gradual experiential process that takes place from dualistic to non-dualistic states, from very cluttered minds to minds that are increasingly liberated from habitual reactivity and preconceptions about how things are supposed to be.
These categories of awareness are not sharply delineated, and our recognition of pure awareness also has many gradations. We can have glimpses or flashes of it, with differing degrees of depth or clarity.
I wanted to explore the deepest depths of who I really was out in the world, anonymous and alone. I wanted to test my own capacities in new and challenging situations. If I can truly disrupt my established routines, find my own edge and then keep going, let’s see what happens to my recognition of awareness, see what happens to the virtues of patience and discipline when no one is watching, when no one even knows who I am; when perhaps I don’t even know who I am.