Mindfulness and The Eight Worldly Dharmas

woodThe Sitting Project

There is an amazing moment when someone says something and it registers and resonates in you in a way it never did before or you see something, as if with new eyes, freshly and alertly.  This something may have been there all along but now you notice it for the very first time. You try something and after constant failure or struggle and difficulty it now happens with fluidity and ease. You recall an incident from the past and, like the last click on the track before the roller coaster drops, in a finger-snap’s time, there is a sudden and clear connecting of the dots. You discover a pattern of behavior or the time line of a lie or figure out a secret. You understand a new scientific text or answer a philosophical riddle or figure out how to do something as never before. Suddenly, instantly, you understand what is happening now, what happened in the past and what will happen next in a new way. Like a light switch has been turned on in a darkened room you finally see the full picture and as the roller coaster hurdles forward and faster towards the earth, the thoughts come quicker and with more intensity. A jumbled mess of incoherent collected information becomes pristine, clear and organized, simplified and viscerally understood. Still life pictures out of focus now a full Imax film in all its richness and immensity envelop the air around you. You are completely and purely in the moment.
Sometimes this experience comes with a feeling of great victory and joy. Sometimes experiences like this can shatter your world with disappointment or regret and sometimes it can be quite frightening leaving us at the mercy of a torrent of emotion. But it should do none of these things. You see.. these things, these people and circumstances, these answers, these skills were always there, we just couldn’t yet or chose not to see them. To feel happiness, justification, anger or sadness at what someone has done to us or what is happening to us or to be overly excited over things we have gained or lost is to not take responsibility for the fact that we have put ourselves there, through effort or laziness, generosity or selfishness, realizations or delusion, or by choosing the certain actions, places and company that led us to this moment.
All people places and things are impermanent and we cannot get wrapped up in any of it. Yes we should rejoice in deeds that help others and feel regret of harmful deeds. We should be mindful of the blessings we have but always remember that they are fleeting and, in turn, the suffering is fleeting too. There is a saying “this too shall pass”. We should remember to apply this saying to the things that bring us delight as often as we apply it to the things that bring us disappointment. When we gain wealth or lose possessions. When we are praised or criticized. When we chase after happiness and run from our sorrows. When we are recognized or are ignored.
Attachment and aversion are both equally harmful to our minds. These are both sides of the same coin, a coin that is an obstacle to liberation and peace. This coin brings nothing but suffering. It turns our minds and lives into terrifying waves of ups and downs like a roller coaster where we feel helpless and out of control. The more you recognize this, remember this and practice this, the less your mind will be disturbed by events both “good” or “bad” and, almost as if by magic, all those people who once tried to harm you, all those obstacles you could not get around, all those things that seemed impossible to accomplish, things you could not comprehend…. all of that. All those things, those feelings, slowly disappear. They all go away and your heart is light. Why? Because your perceptions of situations will change and the next time  you experience that click of the track before the fall of an event the next sensation will be not a frantic, adrenaline rushed cyclone of emotion but one of stillness and peace.
So remember this when you discover something new, when you are complimented,  when you get sick, when you lose something you love, when you get a raise or get fired or meet someone special. … relax.  Acknowledge what has just happened then let it go and ride that wave to its fullest. Calmly and without judgment. It’s all the same in the end.

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“Looking back I see the signs were always there when I was lost.”-Bound, Alekhine’s Gun


Jessica Pimentel

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Jessica was a student of H.E. Sermey Khensur Lobsang Tharchin in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. A Classically trained violinist and a hardcore musician Jessica has played such notable venues such as CBGB and Carnegie Hall and currently fronts and composes for Alekhine's Gun and plays bass for Desolate -- both New York-based heavy metal bands. An accomplished actress, Jessica plays Maria Ruiz on the critically-hailed Netflix original series "Orange Is The New Black" and recently appeared in John Sayles' "Go For Sisters." She is commonly referred to as and known by her nickname "The Crusher"