This week we look into ways the mindfulness traditions help us learn the skills of thinking in clear and useful ways, so our actions flow from skillful understanding. Steve will lead on Friday and Barry on Thursday.
A note from Barry: The topic is again from the Eightfold Path: Right Action. “Positively formulated, right action means to act kindly and compassionately, to be honest, to respect the belongings of others, and to keep sexual relationships harmless to others.” (This text is found on several websites, although an author is not specified.)
A note from Steve: Hello Habit Energy! Last week Leslie read from Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching. Our way of acting depends on our way of thinking and our way of thinking depends on our habit energies. We can make good friends with our habitual patterns of thinking and acting. Hello habit energy! When we can accept these ingrained thoughts and not feel guilty about them, they will lose much of their power over us. Then, as our thinking becomes skillful, our actions will be so. Habit energies are those little high strung voices in our belly that draw us toward thoughts and actions, without much reason or explanation. Like walking into the room and turning on the tv – just out of habit. Then realizing two hours have passed by. Do you notice sometimes overreacting to someone’s words or facial expression. The expression “pushing his or her buttton”. One mistake we meditators tend toward is trying to purge our habit energies. We can teach ourselves to notice the reaction as it begins to arise and try to block or distract it. But read Thay’s practice suggestion above. Rather than judging the habit energy, make friends with it. Be curious about what it is up to. You will have plenty of chances, because our habit energies visit us again and again. We can live in fear of the tiger and run away when we first sense its growl. Or we can patiently and carefully befriend the tiger and begin to see that the fierce tiger is really a tame cat.