The Mind with Dan Siegel
What it means to be present. (7 min)
How to teach mindfulness to our children. (3 min)
Healing the Brain (7 min)
Children sharing their experiences of mindfulness (2-min)
- Recognizing – ‘There are …’
- Accepting – ‘Yes, there are …’
- Returning – ‘Thank you’ (in-breath)
|P.A.R.T. Presence, Attunement, Resonance, and Trust
Presence, is our own state of mind to be curious, open, accepting, and loving. (mindfully present!).
Attunement, is how we focus attention on the internal state of another—not just on their outward behavior.
Resonance, is how we allow our own internal state to be shaped by what we sense and perceive in someone else.
Trust, When the other person recognizes and feels our resonance as it emerges from our attunement and presence, they will begin to develop trust.
Non-Self Practice – “It wasn’t a practice where your personality totally disappears forever. “
When we hear of the Buddhist teaching of non-self, people might think, ‘If I let go of my personality what will be left? It’s very frightening to think of no longer being a real person, a personality of some sort.
We conceive that without a personality we would be nothing, and that’s rather frightening However, the Buddha’s teaching on anatta, was to point out the reality of non-self in very simple ways. It wasn’t a practice where your personality totally disappears forever. Anatta is a practice for ordinary everyday life in which you notice when personality arises and when it ceases.
When you’re really observing it, you’ll notice that personality is a very changeable thing. You will notice that it changes according to who you’re with, the health of the body, and the state of mind.
To know the personality, I have to abide in awareness, in a state of openness and reflectiveness. There’s discernment operating. It’s an openness, intelligent and alive, with recognition, discernment and attention in the present. So, when the Buddha pointed to awareness, (sati-sampajanna) he was pointing to the reflective capacity. It isn’t thought; it’s not filling my mind with ideas or views and opinions.
It’s an ability to receive this present moment, to receive both the physical and mental conditions as they impinge on me through the senses. It is the ability to embrace the experience of the present moment, which means the embracement of everything. Everything belongs here, whether you like it or not. It is the way it is.
The refuge, however, is in the awareness of this, in trusting our ability to be aware. When we are committed to awareness, then whatever happens, it belongs. When we are confident in awareness, there’s nothing that can be an obstruction except ignorance and forgetfulness.
The style of practice that we use here points us always to the present moment. What is the self/personality? Don’t be afraid of being a personality, but rather, be conscious of it. Personality arises and ceases in consciousness. It changes according to conditions. But awareness is a constant thing, although we might forget it, getting lost in the momentum of emotions and habits.
If you consciously notice the desire to become. You can move more towards being nobody. So, trust in this awareness, this openness, this receptivity, attention, listening.
No matter how intimidated you are by your thinking, trust in the awareness of it and not in the judging of it. You don’t need to get rid of it, but recognise: thinking is like this, views, opinions, attachment to views and opinions are like this.
Then you’ll begin to see what attachment is as a reality, as a habit that we’ve developed. And you’ll see personality, when it arises and when it ceases, when there’s attachment to it and when there’s non-attachment.
Personality is not the problem; the problem is the attachment to it. So, you’re always going to have a personality, even as an arahant; but an arahant has no identity with it and no attachment. It’s the ignorance and attachment that the Buddha was always referring to again and again as the cause of suffering.
There’s nothing wrong with conventional reality either. The problem is in the attachment to it out of ignorance.
So, I encourage you to develop this simple immanent ability, to give enough attention, which is not an aggressive willfulness, but a relaxed openness, a listening and a resting.
Acceptance ‘It’s like this’
In meditation, just be aware of the physical sensations or the tensions, without judging or criticizing, but just noticing, ‘It’s like this’, accepting, allowing things to be what they are, rather than always trying to change or control them.
Once you see through self-view, the development of the path is then very clear. You trust in this awareness, in non-attachment. You are able to see that attachment is like this, non-attachment is like this. There’s a discernment.
Do not judge or attached as bad; but observe attachment, really notice the power of attachment, of ambition, of wanting to get something, wanting to get rid of something.
Make it fully conscious. And then once you really see attachment, you can inform yourself to let go of it. Let go. Let it be. So, you are more accepting of things until they fall away.
Finally, in practice, we’re left with the existential reality of our humanity. Those energies and forces that are in fact part of human reality, and are not personal.
We all have these primordial drives as human beings. They are common to all of us. They are not a personal identity.
Our refuge is in awareness rather than in judging these energies that we’re experiencing. Anger and hatred arise and cease. When the conditions for anger arise, it’s like this; likewise fear, the primal emotion of the animal realm. But the awareness of lust and greed, the awareness of anger, the awareness of hatred and fear, that is your refuge.
“Your refuge is in the awareness.”
(clear, spacious awareness:-)
Source – A talk given by Luang Por Sumedho in July 2003.