|Trapped By Views
by Ajahn Pasanno
[Listen to Audio!]
We recognize that whatever comes up is just a mental formation within the mind, just a thought or just a perception. We can have a perception about something and realize that it’s impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self. Sometimes we can act on views or perceptions if they have a usefulness at that particular time, but we are not building our home or sense of self within that.
To tie that in again with loving-kindness: it’s being very kind to yourself and others because it doesn’t take very long to recollect the last time you were at loggerheads with somebody because of a particular view. You think about it afterward and wonder, "Why did I even go there? What was the point of that anyway?"
If we are not trapped by views, usually we can respond quite skillfully, and that is exceedingly useful. Reflect on the sense of non-contention as a basis for loving-kindness. There is an idiom in the scriptural language that describes this mental state of attaching to views: "This alone is true, anything else is wrong." It isn’t as if we have consciously thought this out or even articulated it within the mind, but it is there. We can change our views, but at that particular moment it feels like, "This is right and everything else is wrong."
As soon as we are in that kind of position, it’s the basis for contention and conflict. It’s the basis for feeling irritation and aversion, whether short or protracted. Ill will is going to be attendant on holding that particular view.
Try to make this very conscious through the cultivation of loving-kindness so as not to allow the formation of views to be so strong. Have a sense of loving-kindness and well-wishing towards yourself because you are usually the first person to suffer when you are tightly locked into a particular view. Then, of course, others suffer as well.
The active application of loving-kindness is not just a nice emotion that we are able to generate sometimes while we are sitting on our cushions. It’s a very practical application of how we can interface with the world around us and not be trapped by fixed views. It lays the basis for peace and clarity.
We can let go — we can let go of a mood, irritation, or aversion; we can let go of a view that’s starting to arise; we can let go of a particular perspective of how I think it has to be; we can let go of sense desires; and we can let go of the whole construct of "I am." It’s that letting go that allows us to access and experience a real peace.
About the Author: Ajahn Pasanno is the abbott at the Abhayagiri Forest Monastery. Excerpt above from ‘Abundant, Exalted, Immeasurable.’
|Latest Community Insights
|Trapped By Views
How do you relate to the notion that we can let go of a view that’s starting to arise? Can you share a personal story of accessing real peace by letting go of your views? What helps you let go of your perspectives?
|David Doane wrote: What comes up in the mind, such as a view or perception, is a mental formation but not ‘just’ a mental perception, as Pasanno writes. That it’s not permanent doesn’t mean it’s with…
|Jagdish P Dave wrote: We all have our views or perspectives and opinions about what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. If we get strongly attached to our view and judge others who have a different po…
|Prasad Kaipa wrote: Here is an image. It is about mid-day sun caught through leaves changing color. Reality trapped by beautyâ¦ Click on the image for higher-res photo. …
|Share/Read Your Reflections
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.
Some Good News
Video of the Week
Global call with Jude Currivan!
Join us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>
Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple “meditation reminder” to a few friends. Soon after, “Wednesdays” started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you’d like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we’d be happy to help you get started.