Greetings fellow sensitive humans,
Now this is an interesting Dhamma offering!
When taking a longer period of time for inner reflection and increased meditation as I recently have, I sometimes have an inspired creative idea with regards Dhamma material that I might like to share. This new talk is the result of one of those inspirations!
I think that if we are honest we will admit that we have all had something of a broken heart at some point in our lives. In fact, most people have had several. We get separated from our loved ones and loved things… plans don't go as we hope… conflicts occur… people change… we drift apart. There are any number of reasons and ways in which our hopes get dashed or those around us can disappoint. Sometimes we ourselves keep letting ourselves down and can literally break our own hearts, when our bad habits keep getting the better of us.
We would all like to have developed tremendous Insight and great Mindfulness so that we could see all phenomena as 'not-self'. But what do you do if something has tripped you up and your practice has fallen away?... Or the 'not-self' teachings and concepts seem abstract and cold? What can we do when the heart feels bruised or torn or is experiencing tremendous disappointment or grief?
This talk explores attitudes and practices that have helped me through difficult situations and times. (Yes even monks have broken hearts at times! – not usually for romantic reasons, but people are people and people let each other down, and things can change in ways that one does not like.) Re-establishing well-being is important for continuing in the process of developing wisdom and insight.
This talk is one that will either seem relevant or not… if not… then never mind… but you may be able to recommend it to a friend.
I hope that something here is useful,
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
Greetings fellow practitioners,
While teaching intensive meditation retreats I will usually go through several of the most central suttas covering subjects such as the contemplation of Not-Self. I will often read from the experience of contemporary masters who had great insights while contemplating/meditating along these themes. I may lead guided meditations where we look at the body as made up of parts, and meditate upon these parts as being composed of the four elements. There will also be fairly consistent encouragement to 'drop the story'… and just see a thought as a thought… the past as already gone… the future as not certain – etc.
For people often coming from busy city lives, these retreats can be quite hard core and hard work! So if the yogis have been practicing very hard, and I have a sense that they may need a little wholesome distraction or light entertainment, I may tell a few 'interesting' personal stories. It can be a nice way of communicating the fact that the Ajahn is still developing along this 'way' engaging these practices as a 'conventional being' on the way to realising 'not-self.' Just like my students.
So these stories were offered later in a retreat taught near Melbourne, after people had practiced hard and well. They start as mildly interesting… but soon become 'quite interesting!' I like to tell stories that allude to what I consider to be a fact… that benevolent beings in parallel realms like to encourage people who are growing in virtue and wisdom. And that these practices that we are all doing - lead to having quite remarkable abilities eventually, as illustrated by stories about my teachers.
I chose the picture above, of Ajahn Achalo on top of the Maha Bodhi Temple with his prayer beads draped over the gold plated spire (absorbing blessings!) Because I am sharing a stash of special little jewels with you all here. I hope that they contain some special Blessings too!
May these stories inspire interest and energy in your mind for further cultivation.
If not – then never mind.
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