News of great anger, tragedy, and destruction of life and environment comes into our awareness from all directions in our modern world. Although this immediacy of information is incredibly useful, a lot of it is triggering to our sensitive hearts, and our heart wants us to react.
Sometimes a piece of news can merit a quick reaction. If we learn that our house is on fire, we need to do something! But most of the news does not need an immediate reaction. It may require a powerful response, but we need time and care to choose a response that does not cause further harm. This may be obvious in the case of dramatic physical responses (punching someone in the face), but it’s equally true for responses in our mind (thinking about how much we want to punch someone in the face).
To do this, we need to be able to handle our own restlessness and reactivity, bringing calm to an agitated mind. This is not easy to do. The space between the triggering thought, image, or word and the immediate chain of thoughts that follow is very small. Meditation practice is a way of widening that space.
In this week’s Sangha, Payton investigated our reactivity and ways in which we can bring a wise view into our daily life.
We first heard a talk by Christina Feldman, entitled “Embodiment”, which you can listen to here: https://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/44/talk/17402/
Christina references the Arrow Sutta, which you can read a version of here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn36/sn36.006.than.html
Next, we listened to a talk including an exercise by Jill Shepherd, which you can find here: https://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/637/talk/56769/
Finally, there were some quotes from a book by Sayādaw U Tejaniya, entitled “Dhamma Everywhere”, which is actually free and you can find copies of it online here: https://ashintejaniya.org/books-dhamma-everywhere (there are also free physical copies but I don’t seem to be able to find those right now; they may be out of print at the moment).