…our practice can over time become more like the ability to play host to whatever kind of experience arises.
It’s so easy to get blown off course in practice. In fact although there may be periods when we are staying true to the Path, most of the time it can be a matter of repeated course-correction.
For example, we start practicing, and after some time trying to settle into it, we may start to taste good, quiet states in our sitting, and naturally we begin to assume that we are finding what practice is all about. This is what it means, we may think: this fulfilling sense of clarity.
Then all of a sudden one day, wham – we’re hit by a wall of anger. The mind is scattered into pieces, tension grips our insides, and we sit with frustration at our “bad meditation” which only makes it all worse.
What’s going on is that we had made a false assumption – that we knew what practice was supposed to be and not to be.
One way to look at this is the shift from being an occupant to a host. Rather than our practice being what we experience…
our practice can over time become more like the ability to play host to whatever kind of experience arises.
Once we find that we are not so much occupants of this body as hosts to what it experiences, as practitioners we can learn to allow our experiences, whatever they may be. This is the beginning of equanimity – allowing whatever arises without seeking either to keep it or push it away.
It’s not exactly philosophy but it has a “philosophical” kind of wisdom in it. As Epictetus famously said, it’s not what happens to us that upsets us, it’s what we think about what happens. And Shakespeare: nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.
So we can explore what happens in our practice when the thinking mind that assesses practice goes quiet, takes a rest, and instead we simply play silent host to whatever needs to arise.
Message from Henry is from our January 10, 2017 Newsletter.
Image: TV Host, by Karthik Pasupathy, CC by-ND 2.0 from Flickr.com