No choice (from Awakening From Belief (AFB08) 00:03:35.70 - 00:10:07.80)
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You're in a situation and you can see into it, and I'm inferring from what you said that the more you saw into it, the more it bugged you, irritated you, the angrier you felt. And like many people who practice, you tried to counteract that anger with compassion. We have to be very careful, that kind of direct countering, and there's a number of methods in Buddhism for that: you counter desire with revulsion, you counter anger with compassion or loving-kindness, and so forth. Unless they're practiced properly--there are some subtleties there--they almost always end up in suppression, and from what you described, it sounds like it could be going in that direction. When you think about engaging the situation it's all up again, so I'd like to ask you, and you don't have to answer this outloud, but it's something for you to consider: What are you trying to get in this situation? And one of the ways that I've worked with a number of people in difficult situations is, What are you trying to get from it? And you have to get really clear about that.
Now sometimes what you're trying to get is to satisfy a pattern, which is hopeless, but it's operating anyway... But you have to include that in the awareness. and sometimes it's a very deep yearning-- what have you. So that's the first step, What am I trying to get here? What do I really want? And that involves a level of examination internally. And sometimes it's very hard to admit.
For instance, I had a woman in my office the other day who's in a kind of messy family situation and she has a stepdaughter, there's some alienation taking place, and she was going on and an about this, and finally I looked at her and said, "It stikes me that you miss her." And of course she just fell apart because that's what was actually going on inside, but that was so hard for her to admit to herself. So that's difficult, and once you identify what you really want from a situaiton then you take a look. Is it possible? And sometimes you look and you see, "This is what I want but it's never going to happen." Then you have a chance.
Ken: Am I better off? Yes you are, From a buddhist perspective you're better off because now you know where the edge of your practice is. And here's a situation, you see you're not going to be able to get what you actually want and you can't accept that. Well, there's something in you that can't meet this reality, so that tells you there's something quite deep stuck in you. It's a very good diagnostic tool and now that you're aware that there's something going on in you, you can start to work with that.
You see everybody says they want to be aware, but most people only want to feel aware. It's not the same. When you're aware, you have no choice about what you're aware of; you're aware of everything. So the possibility of orchestrating the world to suit your needs--it's gone. You have to deal with what is. And that can be difficult sometimes.