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DHARMA Talks November 25, 2006 2:53 PM

If you have a favorite, please post it, with a link here.

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 November 25, 2006 2:54 PM


Much of our life seems to be spent in the pursuit of what we believe will make us happy. So we spin out our lives in what appears to be a frantic attempt to put ourselves, our families, the world in order, making adjustments and changes hoping to set our lives right and make our world a safe and comfortable place. What we're really spinning is a dream—a dream that comes out of a sense of something fuller, something whole, happy, secure and complete. Living our lives in a sort of amnesia, we've forgotten that the "perfect" life is not to be found anywhere but directly before us. We believe at the core that this fragmented self is all there is, and we spend our lives devising strategies to make us feel more whole, less threatened. We become great playwrights, creating characters and scenes. Making ourselves into protagonists, we set up requirements for how and who we must be in order to survive what we believe to be a fractious existence—and we believe our dramas down to every atom of our being. For a time, our creations may seem work. The new relationship, the new job, the new workshop, whatever methods we choose, may give us a sense that this is what will put our life in order. But it isn't long before discontent, in one form or another, begins to surface again. How do we respond? Do we work harder to fix ourselves? Do we adopt an attitude of resignation? Perhaps we seek special teachers or new practices. Whatever our response, if our aim is to fix then what we're really doing is chasing after dreams of what we believe will make us happy.

What is the source of this belief that something is missing? Why do we try to make ourselves and the conditions of living over? If we're lucky, we may begin asking these questions. Our desire to adjust the world so that it fits our view of the way things should be reflects the paradox of what it means to be human: We view ourselves, our lives, as incomplete and fragmented; at the same time, we have a vague recollection of wholeness. In order to feel something is missing, we must know that a whole exists. We long for what we already are, and our longing is the result of not remembering that life at any moment is all there is. So how do we remember? If we begin to listen openly, observing and experiencing our sense of lacking rather than trying to satisfy it, our discomfort can be become our wake-up call. When we begin to question not the conditions of our life, but the dissatisfaction itself, we really begin to practice. In time, we learn that it is the belief that we and the world just aren't right that keeps us from understanding truth.

We have a choice. We can rework the script—even start a new play, or we can look and listen to the pain, the fear, whatever isn't "just right," as thoughts, emotions and sensations within the body . We can listen to them as a voice whispering from somewhere deep within, urging us to wake up to life's fullness, right here, right now. If we turn over and over toward experiencing with an openness and willingness to learn, then we may remember something. We may recall that that which we seek has been here all the time.

To be human is to forget and to remember. Our life is just that cycling of forgetting, remembering, forgetting, remembering. When we are asleep--and we're all asleep at one time or another—we are convinced that what we call "myself" is all there is. Even to suggest that we question our deepest beliefs and our strategies to insure that this self will prevail and waking out of our sleep can be frightening. Yet, from the point of view of practice, waking up requires nothing less than a meticulous investigation into all aspects of this self-preserving mechanism. We must invite ourselves to be present to ourselves, to experience fully our happiness and our anguish, our pride and our shame, our love and our hate, our deepest fears, in whatever form, whatever context they appear in. This work must go on 24 hours a day—remembering, forgetting, remembering. As we slowly learn to be present to whatever conditions arise, even if only for a split second, there is no remembering, no forgetting—simply all-pervading wholeness.

©Diane Rizzetto 2004

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One of my favorites ... November 25, 2006 3:05 PM

can be found on this page

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Roshi Joan Halifax November 28, 2006 8:54 AM

I recommend going to this website , you will find a bunch of great dharma Talk of Roshi Joan Halifax & friends to listen to.

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