Examining the Obstacles

In class last week, we started digging into a sutta (an old Buddhist text) which mentioned “final attainment of truth.” The sutta was primarily about how to choose a teacher wisely, but this whole “attainment of truth” issue became a distracting and compelling sidebar.

Maybe you call it enlightenment, awakening, happiness independent of conditions…Regardless, the practice is the same: We’re not seeking something, so much as looking closely at the obstacles that seem to get in the way of our freedom in each moment. So we examine physical pain and ask, is it the pain that holds the suffering, or the resistance to it? And we build up tolerance for uncomfortable emotions, so we can experience them without fighting–just a flow changing energies like the weather.

By doing this, we become free to take wise action–to respond in ways that are authentic, empowered, and compassionate. And the world starts to feel very safe.

None of this requires us to “know what enlightenment is,” or seek out a concept. We just keep looking for the suffering and turning toward it. Like fog burns off in sunlight, suffering burns off just from exposure to our attention, and each next step is revealed.

Posted in Equanimity.