[AUDIO AND TEXT]
This is a reflection on some experiences or some events that have been happening with me. We are conditioned by or conditioned within our habits of mind.
The way that we encounter our reality, the way that we encounter it, and the way that we interpret it depends largely on how we have developed certain habits of mind. Do we reject things and circumstances and happenings? Do we accept them? Do we embrace them? How do we handle the circumstances that life presents us? We respond to events, we interact with events, we embrace events, we reject events. But all of these interactions are just our responses to what life presents us in each moment that we’re alive. And the nature of our response is largely conditioned by our habits of mind.
Have we habituated ourselves or have we learned to position ourselves in opposition to what happens, to acceptance of what happens, to interpretation of what happens? Moment to moment. And just think what the possibilities are, if we can liberate ourselves from our own peculiar habits of mind. Think how freeing it could be if we were able to respond in each moment, just to the contents of that moment, and not to our preconceived responses to the content of that moment.
The Great Vows talk about saving all beings; we know that that’s not something that we can go out and do. We can’t go out and say, okay, you’re saved. Everything is cool, don’t worry about it. But when we are able to free ourselves within the content of the moment that presents itself to us, when we are able to make a choice as to how to respond to each moment, or how to live in each moment, despite whatever habits we might have formed in our past, and in our present in our minds. And that’s where really in that where we, where we dwell, when we decide how to respond to the content of each moment.
We have our designs on how we think we ought to be in each. In any given circumstance, we should either be accepting of the content of the moment, we should even be joyous at it. Some things that present themselves to us should make us happy. Some things should disturb us, some things we should be able to pass by, without reacting. All of these things are choices that we can make, in whatever moment we happen to find ourselves in.
And that’s where our real liberation comes. We recognize that our responses, the quality of our responses, the character of our responses to what life presents are simply choices that we have made based on our conditioning, based on our experience of being. If we are driven or guided by our practice, they are choices based on that practice, and whatever liberation or freedom or response that we have formed, it’s all about what we have decided and how we have decided in our minds to respond to those circumstances. And how we respond to those circumstances, especially when we interact with other people, determines the peace, or the chaos, the color of the content of those moments that we participate in.
If we look at our habits of mind, the habits that we formed, based on how we’ve come up from a child, to an adolescent, to an adult, to a senior citizen, which many of us are, all of those, the character of all of those responses, has been within our control, and within our ability to shape and determine how we show up in those moments.
So it’s our own habits of mind, and our ability to share the fact of habits of mind, to those with whom we come into contact, that kind of determine the effect of our own being in the world, and in interaction with our fellows. If we choose to show our response to what’s happening in the world, as resistance or capitulation or suffering, or disdain or acceptance. That’s just a result of the habit of mind that I, that you, that everyone has adopted, or has fallen prey to, however you want to look at it. But it’s nothing more than a habit of mind that determines how we respond.
The lines in the verse on relying on mind, the Verse of Faith Mind, says, “the conflict between like and dislike is a disease of the mind.” A habit of mind is how we have chosen to respond to any given circumstance that determines the quality of the energy that we emanate, that we put out, that we share with the other beings, be they sentient or non-sentient. I don’t like that distinction between sentient and non-sentient beings. I mean, everything that is, is an emanation of essential nature. Right. Everything that is, whether it be a tree or a rock or a person or a squirrel or a flower or a puppy or whatever it is. They’re all emanations of that fundamental energy that underlies us all.
It’s all a habit of mind that we have embraced, or adopted. We ourselves, I think, are just habits of mind. What we present to the world is just a habit of mind. Everything we are, everything we show, everything we exhibit, everything we embrace, is all just a habit of mind. And what a joy it is, to recognize that and to realize how much power or how much energy that gives to each of us individually in shaping what we present, to the others with whom we come in contact, and our, the nature of our interaction with all of those others with whom we come in contact.
What else is there in our lives and in this world, then what we show and what we present, and what we bring to each moment that we’re out there, or that we’re in here, or however you want to look at it based on your point of view. So, habits of mind. I think this is something worth observing in our practice is what habits of mind are shaping our interaction and our being in the larger world and with our fellows.