In yesterdays’ post, I mentioned becoming aware of sounds as I woke up; Terrill, in her comment from Mayne Island, spoke of nearby noise as she stepped into the garden. At first blush, that’s all there is: the sensation of sound. But then busy mind takes us away from direct experience. That’s a garbage truck, it classifies, and a chain saw. Immediately afterwards, if we’re not vigilant, yet another layer. Garbage trucks shouldn’t be allowed here at 6 o’clock in the morning and people with chain saws don’t care for the environment, they’re always cutting down trees. Logic and reality are pushed aside as fabrication and fantasy take charge.
No harm done, you might say. Maybe. But by operating from a posture of fabrication and judgement, I am no longer aware of what’s actually happening. My reactions take me into a world of my own making.
Let me illustrate with an everyday encounter. (1) Someone comes towards me on the side-walk. (2) A young person on a skateboard, white wires running to her ears, cell phone in one hand, tattoos all over. (3) Judgment arises … can you guess?
So, learning to observe these layers helps us stay real with what is, not what the mind conjures up in its busy creativity. And so we practice by sitting still (meditation), again and again bringing awareness to each moment (breath) as it arises and is replaced by the next. To meditate is not to remove ourselves from the world (as some may think, seeing us sitting there), but to train the mind to live in the real world.
images: (top) ereplacementparts.com, (bottom) inmagine.com.