I don’t normally use this space as a place to actually talk about the Dharma, but maybe that should change. Last night I went to the open sit and Dharma talk at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center (CIMC). The talk was given by Larry Rosenberg who has recently become one of my favorite teachers; if you have never read Breath by Breath you are really missing out on one of the best sutta commentaries ever. During the talk Larry said two things that really stuck with me and so I’d like to share them here.
The topic of the talk basically ended up being about where we can find the inner peace that so many of us are looking for. Larry took a very broad view of what inner peace means, choosing to interpret it as enlightenment or awakening rather than the more mundane self-help connotations that immediately come to my mind. Throughout the talk Larry repeated a question and answer: “Where can we find inner peace? The same place that we find sorrow.” Here again, the term sorrow was used in the broadest sense, akin to suffering or Dukkha. I found this sentiment simply amazing, not only because Larry was pointing to this notion that inner peace is to be found within (as opposed to out in the world of external getting and having), but also because my own experience lately has been that the closer I get to my own pain, the happier I actually am. It’s really quite profound when you think about it, allowing ourselves to be aware of and feel our own pain from a place of equanimity rather than aversion leads us to a place where we are free from that pain, fucking astounding.
Okay the second thing is not nearly so insightful but led me to a place of great freedom when thinking about my own practice and that is this: whatever practice works for you, breath meditation, metta, chanting mantras, whatever, follow it instead of getting hung up on having to engage in the “right” practice. This was like an invitation to me to put down the breath (which I really struggle with) as the object of meditation and allow myself to focus on metta practice which leads me to a place of deep calm and insight. I just thought that was cool and wanted to share (it’s also the basis for this week’s discussion topic on Sunday).
So that was all I had, just some things that spoke to me that I thought might be of interest to others. Let me know if you’re interested in having more posts actually related to the Dharma instead of just BostonDPX goings on, I’ll be happy to oblige.