Mar 23 • 3M

[0035]Being observant

May you notice what you have failed to notice

 
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Because the mind is a tangle of sensations, vivid recollections of sensations, images of events as well as images of states of mind, new experiences are not entirely detached from those images and recollections. In fact, we are constantly reliving our past experiences at a certain rate in time or perceiving meaning in a flash of insight that is only experienced as an inner duration. Through all of this, our innumerable subtle faiths, fears, anticipations, instincts, superstitions, and blind tendencies forever tinge the fabric of our reality. The universal tendencies that lead to suffering are the five kleśas (क्लेश): hatred, greed, envy, pride, and ignorance. When you are so self-involved, you tend to only notice things when your tendencies are crossed or satisfied. And because you fail to notice what you have failed to notice, there is little you can do to change—until you notice how failing to notice shapes your thoughts and deeds.

We have a need to go beyond ourselves, to step outside our familiar, safe boundaries and taste life on a larger scale. So the natural tendency is to always explain or explain away experience so that you can maintain some measure of control of your world and the persona you have cultivated for yourself. At the heart of this egotism is really the noble tendency to realise yourself as an individual and live a full and rich personal life. The very word tendency (from Latin tendens) means a “stretching to”, to aim at something. You can only begin to understand what makes you tick by observing how you act and react in different situations. What satisfies or antagonises your tendencies is usually felt instinctively as pleasure or pain. But tendencies like intuitions are more limiting beliefs than any prescient indicators of unfavourable things. So pay attention to the things that you like to do that give you bad results and the things you don’t like to do that give you good results whenever you encounter such thoughts and feelings. In time you’ll learn to be more skillfully discerning in how you shape your awareness.

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