Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Pebble in the Pond

Yesterday (9/11), I dedicated both meditation classes I taught to the subject of expanding the practice of vipassana from a purely personal, individual pursuit, to a practice with potentially global significance. This teaching was done within the framework of the 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as the recent news stories regarding the planned (and thankfully abandoned) burning of the Koran by a misguided religious leader in Florida.

When we allow ourselves to sit quietly and see things clearly, we are better able to witness and participate in our life as it is being lived. In particular, this includes the habitual and automatic tendencies of the mind to create a sense of self where none actually exists. This sense of self, of "I," "me," and "mine," is perhaps the single most destructive force on the planet. It has given rise to countless struggles between individuals, clans, religions, and nations, and these conflicts continue to this day, some spanning many generations.

If we can see the suffering of our own life as resulting from the arising of a sense of self, perhaps we can begin to act more skillfully and effectively in our world. If we can know more clearly the habitual and automatic reactivity of the mind, then perhaps we can take a moment to reflect upon a better response toward situations, people, and things. If so, our suffering will be decreased. And when our suffering decreases, the suffering of our loved ones and those around us decreases. We become like a tiny pebble tossed into a still pond, creating concentric circles of positive influence in our world.

From Arun Gandhi:
I was once told by my mother, who along with Father spent all her life working for nonviolent change, that there is a big difference between throwing a pebble in a pond and throwing a big rock. The pebble causes gentle ripples that go a long way. The rock makes a big splash that quickly disappears.

No comments:

Post a Comment