July Dharma Talk

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    The labels and storylines I give to all the sights, sounds and events which unfold around me determine to a large extent how I will experience them.

    Moments of open awareness which sometimes occur when I am surprised out of my habitual labels, storylines and responses by events which break through my routines can reveal unexpected, more fluid ways of experiencing, less loaded with my own particular concepts of absolute good and bad.

    Last night, waking with the early dawn, I found my mind overwhelmed with difficulties. Wanting to sleep to avoid over-tiredness today, I first allowed the thoughts and feelings just to be there, rather than embroiling myself in them, and though this was O.K., I still found the thoughts and feelings too overpowering to be able to sleep; so I slowly hypnotised myself, mainly using focusing on my breathing, and slowly, calm returned to my mind, followed swiftly by restful sleep.

    At times like these, I can become aware how arbitrary my responses to events can be. Different mind-sets generate wildly different responses in me to similar events in every-day life. I can privilege my habitual mind-set and call it ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ and stay with my habitual responses as a result, but that does not reflect my experience of meditation and self-hypnosis, when I find alternative naturalness and normality and completely different attitudes of mind. At these meditative and hypnotic times, I can sometimes find calm and spiritual light in situations I find difficult when engaged in my more habitual mental attitudes.

    It may be that the universe’s calling of Amida’s Name to me is contained in all my experiences, easy and difficult alike, and in the events unfolding within and around me, and when I am able to listen, in ways fresh to me, sometimes I think I hear it –

    Namo Amida Bu.

     

    Nembutsu –

    Namo Amida Bu

    Is the call

    Of the mind of true entrusting.

    Namo Amida Bu

    Is the call of everything –

    Just listen.

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