In the spirit of sangha and lovingkindness, Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia offers this week’s reflections for the NYI community.
Mature practitioners often report surprise at the tenacity of their quarrelsome tendencies. Even after years of practice the mind seems determined to find fault with self and others, to take exception to what is, and we can feel helpless in the face of it. One might say, “Well just stop thinking those thoughts,” but it’s not that easy, is it? The unawakened mind seems habituated to quarreling.
As the years go by one can feel an increasing urgency to STOP ARGUING—both internally and externally. And the Buddha often emphasized the importance of using restraint or turning the attention elsewhere to offset unskillful habits. But there is also the development side of the equation—the cultivation of kindness, equanimity, calm and insight. These qualities are key players in this process of waking up. They establish a softness in the mind which both offsets our habit of buying into quarrelsome thinking and which, ultimately, makes it possible to uproot that kind of thinking all together. It’s pretty basic stuff … but it is years in the unfolding.
In the end, it’s not the conditions of life that create our suffering; it’s our persistent delusion about what constitutes an efficacious response. Quarreling is never a suitable response. It only gets us deeper in. We need to see what the mind is doing and learn to relate to it with some semblance of objectivity.
Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia
Gloria Taraniya is a Lay Buddhist Minister in association with Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in CA. She is a Core Faculty member at Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and served as Insight Meditation Society Resident Teacher for many years