Teachings and Meditations On Our True Nature

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Our true nature is that we fully possess the wisdom and virtues of the buddhas. But because of misconceptions and attachments we do not realize our buddha nature. Therefore, teachings are given to listen to, accept, and understand so that such misconceptions and attachments drop away and thus our true buddha nature may be realized. Each class will begin with quiet sitting and walking meditation followed by teachings and group discussions.

AI Summary: 



So there were some words offered to describe this session, these sessions, these seven sessions. And then there were some words offered last week. So I think the title was something like meditation on our true nature. Is that right? Something like that? And so, true nature. So our true nature is, I guess you could say, for starters, it's the way we really are. And at this stage, the way we really are is that we have, our nature is fundamentally and originally pure. And yeah.


So our nature is fundamentally pure. We are the way things are in association with the way things aren't, or in association with some kind of pollution. And the way we fundamentally are, which is pure, is in conversation with a state of realization of our nature, which is sometimes called enlightenment or Buddhahood. And that is the way things are, but not in association with pollution. And the way we are now is to be purified of certain temporary conditions like attachments and misunderstandings.


But we don't, we aren't just attachments and misunderstandings, we are also reality. We are also suchness. And the suchness which we are is non-dual. So it's not in a dualistic relationship with our attachments and our misconceptions. It's not in a dualistic relationship Would you mind moving that way about six inches? Take your time. Perfect. Are you comfortable? You can move your blanket also. So, this description of our situation, one of the places it's


is found is in a text I referred to, an Indian Buddhist text, which has a long name and has two parts in a way. One part is the Great Vehicle Treatise on the Highest Continuity. And then the other part of the title which is sometimes mentioned, is the analysis of the lineage of the jewel or jewels. And the jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. So I often remember Siddhartha Guruji saying, everything's impermanent, everything changes.


And so he said that. And this teaching is talking about a very high, a highest continuity, that although all things, all compounded things are impermanent, there is, for example, a continuity of their impermanence. There is a continuity of the reality of things that are impermanent. Like, human beings are impermanent, but there's a continuity to human beings also. Namely, that we're always dependently co-arising. Every moment we're dependently co-arising, there's a continuity in that way. We are always, the universe, dependently co-arising as us in a particular moment.


And that way that we're arising into a particular form in a particular moment That way is fundamentally pure. Everything's included, nothing's left out, it's pure. However, there also is, for us, some tendency to project or superimpose on this pure creative process which we're manifesting in this moment to superimpose some idea upon it and grasp that idea, to take that idea as what we are and to hold on to it. But even so, that projection doesn't actually fundamentally reach our dependently co-arising basic existence, which is pure and there's a continuity of this purity.


But there's also a long-standing tradition of moment-by-moment projection upon this creative process and grasping that projection as real. which causes, which creates stress, which is stress. And so we have this fundamental pure nature. We also have a temporary a kind of fantasy or impure way of relating to this fundamental purity, which is trying to get a hold of it by projecting something on it by which you can get a hold of it. Meantime, those projections never do reach, they always don't reach our fundamental nature.


And that's another part of us that's that we're always that way, that no idea of us reaches the way we are. And there's always projection of ideas of what we are upon ourselves. But we can learn to relate to our ideas and our attachments in a way to not adhere to them as real, not attach to them. We can learn to do that. And in that way, our fundamental nature becomes purified of these projections, even though the projections may still be arising, they're no longer really an association. or they're no longer adhering to our basic nature. And in this process, it helps to sometimes see that these projections are actually absent in our basic nature.


And our basic nature is non-dual, so it also allows for the dependent co-arising of these projections. We are fundamentally pure in our dependent co-arising, and the projections upon our dependent co-arising are also dependent co-arising. So they're not in a dualistic relationship to our basic nature. They also have a basic nature that they're dependently co-arisen to. But our basic dependent co-origination is not a projection. But it doesn't, and it also doesn't fight projections. And projections also, their fundamental nature is also


not reached by any projection. And there's an absence of this projection all the time in the way we basically are. The Buddhas and their teaching and the Sangha, the community that studies the Buddha's teaching arise from this fundamental situation of having this basic nature which sometimes is called Buddha nature, sometimes is called the womb of the Buddha or the womb of the Tathagata, sometimes called the Buddha element, various names for it. this fundamental quality of our life, which is that we have this Buddha nature, and this Buddha nature is the way things really are associated with these attachments and misconceptions.


That way we are now needs to be purified, and that way we are now has a relationship with the purification of that nature, or you could say the realization of that nature. So realizing the Buddha nature is to realize this is the fundamental pure nature, and this is the projection and attachment. So there is a relationship between our basic nature, which has this suchness or reality in association with pollution. It has a relationship with suchness unassociated with pollution. In other words, we have a relationship with perfect enlightenment. And our basic nature is not dualistic, and perfect enlightenment is not dualistic.


So perfect enlightenment realizes that it's not the slightest bit different from our immature state. And our immature state is the fact that there's no duality between our immature state and the mature state, we have that already, that nature, that there's no duality between the way we are now and the way we will be. However, that fact that we're no different from the way we will be right now, we are Buddha, we are the Buddha we will become, we are that Buddha right now in this way, which is that we have problems that we someday won't have. But the way we will be is not dual with the way we are now, and that's the way we are now. But we also have this, like we have these illusions of past, present, and future and so on to deal with, which we project on our fundamental nature and believe.


And this realization I mentioned last week comes with qualities. And these qualities make possible activities. And these activities are the activities which are relating to living beings, to immature living beings, so that they will mature. So being the realized Buddha is not just to be a realized Buddha, it's so that you have these qualities and these activities which help the unrealized beings become realized. So we need the realized, we need to work for the realization of our nature because the realization of our nature helps other beings We need, and in that realization, we understand that cyclic misery and peace are not dual.


But we realize, in addition to, there seems to be plenty of realization, or plenty of manifestation of cyclic misery, what we're working for is more realization of peace. And that comes with understanding the non-duality of peace and suffering. The three jewels and these four things I just mentioned, which are our basic nature, our Buddha nature, the realization of it, enlightenment, the qualities of enlightenment, and the activities of enlightenment, These four plus the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha make up five Vajra points of this treatise. And the first three, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha arise from the interaction of the last four. the Buddhadharma Sangha arise from the conversation between immature beings whose nature is pure, fundamentally, between immature beings who have Buddha nature interacting with the realization of Buddha nature and all its qualities and activities.


All that gives rise to the Three Jewels. Yes. Yes, Linda. The four? The four. So you said the four of them give rise to the three jewels. So there's seven points. We start with the three jewels, which are sublime and rare. And they arise from our Buddha nature, our Buddha element. in interacting with the conditions of enlightenment, the qualities of enlightenment, and the activities of enlightenment. So because enlightenment has certain qualities, it can then have certain activities, and the activities it has are to bring living beings whose nature is fundamentally pure, to bring them to Buddhahood.


to teach them how to deal, how to honor their Buddha nature and deal with the pollution so that they will mature into realizing this fundamental purity and letting go of the impurities without getting rid of them because they're non-dual. Yeah, go ahead, go ahead. So, pollution is non-dual with Purity. That's one kind of non-duality.


Pollution and non-pollution. You could say they're resolved in non-duality, yeah. But they also could also say they dependently co-arise. You can't have purity without impurity. And also, there's non-duality between cyclic misery and the peace and ease of nirvana. They're also non-dual. And there's also non-duality between the Buddhas, who have realized the Buddha nature, and sentient beings who have the Buddha nature but haven't realized it. So the purity, you could say, is the purity of being free of the pollution.


The purity is being free of misconceptions and attachments. It's our Buddha nature. Our even more basic nature is pure. But our nature is, we have a basic nature that's pure, and we have a basic nature which is suchness, which is reality. Everybody equally has reality on their side. There's a reality to everything. And nothing is more real than another. But you can say, well, attachments and misconceptions, you could say, well, they're less real than non-attachment, you could say that. But again, the less real is non-dual, if there's anything more real.


So, last week I skipped over the three jewels And I'm not going to get into them too much tonight, probably, but I did want to mention that, and this treatise doesn't mention it, that when we have a ceremony of receiving the three treasures, we often, there's a tradition of before receiving the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, going for refuge or before returning to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, we practice repentance. And this treatise I'm telling you about doesn't mention the repentance part, but I just wanted to mention that. And then after I mentioned it, I wanted to say more about it. But, Elena has a comment?


Yeah? She said I could shut her up? Did you say I could shut you up or not? Can I shut you up or not? Okay. Did you want to say something more? But the first thing was really good. I appreciate that, that I got a shut-up license. And I said, I'm having a conversation. And I'm having a conversation with God. I don't believe in the word God. I never used the word God. And I was talking to this God, like, with much more of a sense of ease than I'm having even talking to you.


It was like God was my buddy. I was having this conversation with Don and I noticed during the, and it was a conversation, and we talked about dimensions. Mainly, I was... So, I've never done anything like that, you know. It... Maybe I should continue to talk about it, but it lasted a while and


The intent, there were many multi-levels. One of the levels was the desire to penetrate, to go through what I was saying. Everything I was saying was nothing, I didn't believe in anything. I did not disbelieve in anything, but I wanted to have this conversation. And so, basically, you know, it was... And I'm saying, you know, God, you're so bad. You know, like, very freshly, very freshly in this, in this, you know, so... Too intimate. No, it was not too intimate. It was not even intimate enough. Well, thank you for telling me about this conversation.


Thank you for telling me about the conversation. The conversation is, again, that's the main thing, is the conversation. You don't have to believe who you're talking to. You can still have a conversation. May it be so, may it be so that I'm having a conversation. And may you also have a conversation. I believe, I believe in conversation. I believe I am a conversation.


And I believe it would be good if I remembered that I'm a conversation. And I believe it's good to perform conversation in order to help me remember that I'm conversation. Can you give me some advice or something regarding what I just said? You don't have to. Thank you. I'd rather not give advice, but I am saying that I support and value conversation. I think that's what I'm saying is that the conversation is what gives rise to the Buddha. Buddhas do not make themselves into Buddhas. Buddhas in conversation with Buddhas make Buddha.


and our buddha nature in conversation with other buddha natures, who are in conversation with buddhas and buddha qualities, give rise to buddha. And along with buddha comes dharma and sangha. Buddha is this highest continuity. But there's also like a a lineage or a source of this highest continuity, which is that living beings who have problems already fully possess the Buddha's wisdom. And by conversation with Buddha's wisdom, which you can call by many names, is born, or you could say, we realize Buddhahood by that conversation.


Yes? I'm wondering if our spiritual nature is Buddha nature in association with It's not so much that Buddha nature is in association. Buddha nature is the association of the attachments and misconceptions with reality. That's our nature. We've all got reality, and at this point in our development, we also have some kind of like temporary close association with misconceptions and attachments. That's our Buddha nature. No, they're just not particularly associated. So, again, I think I mentioned the Sanskrit for our Buddha nature.


One of the Sanskrit expressions is, I believe it's called, which means sa, like with, mala, pollution, and then tatata, suchness. It's suchness with, not mixed, but with pollution or attachments. There's a conversation there too. And if we would realize that conversation, the association wouldn't be very strong. then the realization of this situation is ta-ta-ta also, but now it's a-mala, ta-ta-ta. It's suchness without pollution. So, if we can see the conversation between attachment and misconceptions with our wisdom,


that would also, that would be the same as, that would be the wisdom. The wisdom would realize that this is the wisdom, and this is the delusion, and the delusion's delusion, and they're not dual, because wisdom is understanding the delusion. So they're in conversation, but we also somehow need and we have realization all around us, which is teaching us how to have conversations with our delusions. And it's teaching us through conversation, so we have conversations with realization to help us develop realization. In other words, to help us have conversation with things that we don't really think we're conversing with, we think that they're like fixtures rather than conversation pieces. Like my view is not just a conversation piece, it's like the way things are, rather than the way I think things are is something to talk about, something to get feedback on.


I don't know. Yeah, and we could converse further. And we could converse further about this. So, through conversation there is a revelation that certain things which we thought were true were really projections.


Certain things which we thought were true about something were actually ideas about that thing. And we might also notice through conversation that we're kind of stuck. on some of our ideas about things. Conversation might help us realize, oh, I actually am not so flexible about this. Someone, actually some other human being might say to me, you seem to be kind of stuck on that point. And if I don't just stop there, but I say, well, tell me more about that, then they might, and I might say, oh, I think you're right. I think I am kind of stuck. So the conversation might help you see clearly, more clearly, these attachments and misconceptions. But also, you said that there could be a conversation with beings also. And through conversation, we can realize that these projections and misconceptions are beings. And part of the conversation is also with the projections and with the attachments, and to have a conversation with them as though they were beings, and to develop compassion towards the things that are causing suffering.


Because they're calling for compassion, just like our original nature is calling for compassion, too. Like, would you please realize me? So we converse with our original nature, partly by remembering it, and partly by bowing down to it occasionally, and saluting to it, and singing praises of it, but also we can be respectful to the things which are, the pollutions which hang around it. So conversation with the pollutions, conversation with the pure nature, and conversations with the wisdom that has realized, fully realized this situation. And in the realization of Buddhahood, which is the realization of our nature, of our original nature and polluted associations, the realization of that is up, it accepts,


that all the suffering that comes from pollution is omnipresent. So the Buddhas are not like, okay, I don't accept that all this pollution and suffering is here all the time. No, they do. They're willing to have conversations with no end, with all the beings who are suffering because of pollution. the study can take place of the projections rather than, it seems like we start to study, you know, on the study of realization or a purging. That might be, I'm worried that's like a misstep as opposed to studying the delusions and projections.


Well, your hand gestures were for the studying the realization, you stretched your hands out farther. And then when you talked about studying the self, you had your hands closer. So this idea that the realization is out there, that's another idea. So you should realize the idea of this realization, that idea is actually right here. So a good place to start is by yourself. Yeah, that's why I sort of said earlier that before we receive the gopher refuge in the Buddha, we practice repentance. We admit that, you know, I tend to put Buddha out there and forget that when I put Buddha out there, that's actually an idea in here.


So I confess, I had an idea about what Buddha is, and I actually thought that was Buddha, and I'm sorry. Sorry, Buddha. Sorry, Buddha. I mean, I'm not so sorry that I had an idea of you. I'm sorry that I thought that the idea of you was you. Having an idea of Buddha is not a misconception, as long as you realize it's just an idea of Buddha. You can have whatever idea you want about Buddha. If you think Buddha is tall, that's okay. But if you hold on to it, then that's a misconception. Or if you think Buddha is short and you believe it, that's a misconception. But just the idea Buddha is tall or short, no problem. And then once you think it's true and you attach to it, then that's even more of a problem. I mean, in that way, it's not conversational. You're missing the chance of having a conversation. Yes. Is your name Betsy?


Gail. Who's Betsy? Which one is Betsy? Becky. Becky and Gail? And somehow in a moment I realized that the suffering was happening because my ego had so many demands and needs and attachments and in a moment I let it all go. Your sense is correct.


And this original gift that came to you from your story, and even if you don't have this story, from your story, I think you got this gift not because you were trying to get rid of all that trouble. You didn't mention you were having all this trouble and you were kind to it. and then you had this insight. He didn't say that, but I think that's what happened. I think you had all this trouble and you responded to it with compassion and then you got to see what it was. The wisdom came because you weren't trying to get rid of those delusions which were causing suffering. If we try to get rid of the delusions that cause suffering, rather than listening to them with compassion, they just keep working until they get the compassion that they need, because they want to be free.


And you felt free of them, but also they got freed, not from you, but from the situation of not being allowed to be. And yeah, so a big part of this teaching is to not try to get rid of evil, but to rather to realize good, but realizing good comes from not trying to get rid of evil. So we come back to repentance. So going for refuge in Buddha is good, But the way you go for refuge in Buddha is by admitting your shortcomings.


By admitting that you did something unskillful or unkind. Admitting, confessing that you're unkind and feeling sorry for it is wholesome. The beginning of being wholesome is to confess unwholesomeness. So before going for refuge in these jewels, which I've described how they come to be, where they come from this conversation, and so we go for refuge in them, but before we go for refuge in a ceremony, we In a formal way, we say, all my ancient twisted karma. In other words, we admit that we are in a lineage of ancient karmic activity, and this karmic activity is born of greed, hate, and delusion.


We've been involved in greed, hate, and delusion, and we've been acting it out through body, speech, and mind. We admit this, and we somewhat regret it. We admit being human and some of the things we've done, we regret. We don't regret everything we've done as humans, but we are human, we admit it, and we admit that we've done a lot of stuff from beginningless time. That is the beginning of wholesomeness, and then the next step in wholesomeness is returning to the Buddha. And then we start to contemplate not just returning to Buddha, but realizing it. And again, part of realizing it is to confess our attachments and misconceptions, which is not trying to get rid of them.


If you try to get rid of them, you haven't really confessed them. When you confess them, that's it. You don't confess and then... In a way, you confess them and you kind of recycle them. And the way you recycle them is by going for refuge, not by pushing them away. Pushing them away is not kind. Confession is kind. You give them their due. you give your shortcomings, you give your unwholesomeness its due. What's its unwholesomeness due? What's it due? What? No, no. What's it due? What's due to it? Compassion. It causes suffering. Things that cause suffering, what is due to them? What are they calling for? They're calling for compassion. and to say, okay, that was unskillful.


Unskillfulness would like some recognition, but kind recognition. So I need to learn how to say that was unskillful in a kind way, and then also that being kind towards it helps me maybe feel sorry about it, and then be kind to my sorriness, my sorrow. That's a conversation. Repentance is a conversation with unwholesomeness. It's a compassionate... Confession and repentance are a compassionate conversation with unwholesomeness, which is the beginning of wholesomeness. A conversation with unwholesomeness is the beginning of wholesomeness. And then a conversation with the Buddha is the middle, the middle of wholesomeness.


And then practicing the teachings is an unending process of realization of wholesomeness. So we are into wholesomeness, but the path to wholesomeness starts with admitting unwholesomeness. Don't go for the wholesome until you've done your homework. Yes? I have a confession of lack of faith, I guess. Okay. Of recurring lack of faith. Yes? What is it? What's it like? What about it? Well, one of the thoughts I had tonight is that what we're talking about is fascinating and important and on Tuesday nights and it lasts a lot of the to get very practical. And when I was driving over here from Marinda, you know, this smoke, the haze, and I was like already worried this week because of the Supreme Court and everything else, and then there's this, and I thought, oh God, I wasn't even worried about the fire on top of everything else.


And so I found myself in a state of fear. And I, you know, when I was listening Does all this stuff apply at that level of practicality or just in conversation? Well, fire is not... what do you call it? Fire is calling for compassion, but fire is not unwholesomeness. Well, fear. Fear is not unwholesomeness. Fear is not unwholesomeness. I don't think so. I think fear comes because of unwholesomeness. For example, mindfulness is usually part of wholesomeness. For example, mindfulness of awakening, or mindfulness of the teaching.


Mindfulness of the Buddha, mindfulness of the teaching. This is the middle of wholesomeness. to remember the Buddha and the teaching and the Sangha. That's a wholesome, that's in the middle of wholesome. But the beginning of wholesomeness would be to confess, what? Confess that I'm not being mindful. Like I wasn't mindful. And in not being mindful, fear arose. Often, yeah. If the fire were right there, would that mean you're not being mindful? If the fire were right there, why would your fear be an expression of lack of mindfulness? Well, I'm not saying it definitely would be, but I kind of feel like if I'm really mindful, I might not get afraid of the fire. I might just be a good fire.


I might enter into a really good conversation with the fire. So with dangerous things like fires and tigers, with things like that, if you are in conversation with them, thorough conversation, fear may not arise. I'm not saying it absolutely definitely won't, but people who interact with fire mindfully and also notice when they're not mindful and confess when they're not mindful, they get more and more mindful with the fire, and they're in the middle of the fire, maybe, I would say, perhaps with less fear. So mindfulness does go with awakening to if you are afraid to notice it and to notice maybe that increased mindfulness, which also goes with increased patience and increased generosity and carefulness, that we can be less afraid of dangerous things when we're really mindful.


So I might confess, for example, I was not mindful and then I got really afraid because I wasn't mindful. I was involved in something, and I lost my mindfulness, I lost that practice, and a lot of fear came up. But even if the fear didn't come, I might still feel like I'm driving a bus, I'm not paying attention, it's full of kids, and I'm driving along, and I didn't have an accident, but I realized I was driving and I wasn't paying attention for a while there. I was up in my head, you know, distracted from being mindful of driving and I'm really sorry and I feel really bad, you know, and then I might... Yeah, I'll just stop there, that I might feel really sorrowful that I wasn't more skillful and wholesome.


So I confess that I wasn't skillful, I wasn't wholesome in driving the car full of kids. and I'm really sorry. And that's the beginning of wholesomeness. But I could also then become, if I then didn't start practicing wholesomeness, then I could, instead of like suddenly now, okay, now I'm gonna really pay attention to my driving, I could slip away from being mindful of the driving and now think, what if I do that again? And my job is not to sit, people aren't saying, would you please get in the car and think about what if you get in an accident? They're asking me to drive the car, not worry about getting in an accident. Generally speaking, people who are worried about driving unskillfully aren't as skillful as people who are mindful of driving skillfully. Somebody can drive really skillfully, really mindfully, and not be afraid. And if they're really doing that, they might be able to report to you that if they got into fear,


that would be a distraction from mindfulness of driving skillfully. If somebody's skating and goes up to do a triple axel, and they worry about whether it's going to happen, they almost for sure will fall. There's no room for being worried when you're spinning through the air and coming down on the tip of your skate. There's no room for that. That skill requires not worrying. It requires tremendous mindfulness. However, to get to that place requires many cases of repentance, of confessing that you weren't mindful, and being in conversation with your coach, who points out to you that you weren't mindful, and you accepting that feedback, and being sorry that you weren't mindful, and being motivated to try again with more mindfulness, until finally, you can fly off the ground, spin in the air, and come down on the edge of a piece of metal on the ice because you are so skillful.


But that skillfulness comes from lots of confession and repentance. And that skillfulness, I would say, at the core of it, when they... Now, some people, again, many people do fly up in the air, worry, and fall. That happens, of course. But then you would say, your coach would say, yeah, well, that's not what we're doing here. We're not skating in order to be afraid. But if we're afraid, we should confess. The coach should say, were you afraid just now when you did that? Let's do something else then that you can do fearlessly, until you can do something fearlessly, and then we'll try something which, okay, ready now, can you try this to do this in a relaxed, present way? But we're not trying to get rid of the fear, because that would also be unskillful. But if there's fear, we want to confess it. And also, the fear is coming from... And so what are we afraid of?


We're afraid that we won't be compassionate. We're afraid that we won't be attentive to each other. We're afraid that we won't listen carefully. We're afraid that we won't respect people. Okay? Those are fears we have. But you could also just say, I'm sorry, I wasn't compassionate. I'm sorry. You don't have to get in to be afraid that you're going to not be compassionate, but you could. And if you're afraid of being compassionate, you could say, I honor. Being afraid, again, is not, however, being uncompassionate. But I'm afraid of being burning, not of not being compassionate. You're afraid of burning? Yeah. Yeah, but... So if you're afraid of being... If you're afraid of getting burned, okay, then what's your practice that you want to do? Yeah, right.


Okay, there it is. Just stop right there. There's fire, you notice you're afraid, and what your practice is to have a conversation with it, which is perhaps to say, I'm afraid. And so I want to have a conversation with, in other words, I want to be compassionate towards this fear. So the next time, and I don't know, maybe I wasn't compassionate in that moment with my fear. I wasn't, and that I'm sorry about. I'm not sorry about the fear. I'm sorry that fear came up in me and I wasn't compassionate to us. Or fear came up in a friend and I wasn't compassionate to it. I'm sorry about that. I'm not sorry my friend is afraid. Buddha is not sorry that people are afraid. Buddha is in conversation with all frightened beings.


Buddha is accepting that there's no end to frightened beings. But if Buddha forgets, if bodhisattvas forget, to be compassionate towards frightened beings, then they might notice that and confess it and say they're sorry because they're trying to be in a compassionate conversation with everybody, which means with fear, with confusion, with hatred, with doubt. Doubt is not you know, that doubt's something that's calling for compassion. And if I don't give it, if somebody tells me they doubt and I don't observe them with compassion, and I notice that, then I would say, oh, I might not say to them because it might not be good, but I might say to my teacher, you know, somebody was really doubting the practice, they were doubting the teaching, and I


I wasn't kind to them, and I'm really sorry. Somebody was afraid of fire. This friend of mine was afraid of fire, and she was calling for compassion, and I didn't give it to her. I'm sorry. I was afraid, and I missed the opportunity. Right in the middle of my fear of the fire, I missed the opportunity to practice. I'm sorry. I'm not sorry that I was afraid. I'm sorry that I missed a beat, a compassion beat. I'm afraid, but I have this great opportunity. Thank you for your excellent question. Yes? Well, pretty much anything that comes up in your mind. mindful of your body and your consciousness. It's hard to be mindful of your unconsciousness because you're not conscious of it.


It's hard to apply. But you can apply mindfulness to everything in your conscious mind, which includes your conscious awareness of your body. which is your conscious version of your body. So we practice mindfulness of the body, right? Which means you're aware that you're sitting right now. You're aware of your posture. You're aware of your breathing. You're aware of your feelings. You're aware of the sounds you're hearing, you're aware of the smells you're smelling, you're aware of the sights you're seeing, you're aware of all that, you're aware of your feelings, you're aware of your perceptions, you're aware of your attitudes, your opinions, you're aware of fear, you're aware of discouragement, you're aware of greed, hate, and delusion, you're aware of all those things, that's mindfulness. And if you're really into that, whatever, you know, I just think of sending you ping pong balls of all this stuff, you're just aware of each one, Well, then you have not much to confess.


You're doing your job. And fear can come from some place. But you're mindful, you're, pardon? Being aware of fear is, well, if you're aware of fear and also you're aware that you're aware of fear, that's mindfulness. What was your question after this? Does it lessen it? Being aware of the fear, being really fully aware of the fear, really letting the fear be, is not concerned with lessening the fear. So there's this thing called fear. So there's fear, and then there's trying to reduce the fear, which goes very well with intensifying the fear.


So some people are afraid, and they try to reduce the fear, and then that often makes the fear flare up. But if you're afraid, and you're aware of the fear, and you practice patience with it, then you come down to feel the fear right now. in this tiny moment, not thinking about that it's been going on for five minutes or ten years, not worrying about whether it's going to go on, not trying to make it stop, you're totally there, you're present, and you're ready to have a conversation with it. And in that conversation, you're going to realize your Buddha nature, which is there all the time, But if we don't practice with this stuff, if we don't have a conversation with it, we don't realize it. Was there somebody else over there? Yes? I was going to ask something similar.


Whether mindfulness is a precursor to a conversation with, I guess, for example, fear. In some ways, the mind is the opportunity to start the conversation. Not necessarily, but it could go that way. You could be practicing mindfulness prior to being welcoming and accepting. Like you could be mindful, it's possible that you could be mindful, or I could be mindful, I am not accepting. I'm like, I totally don't accept this, but that's what's going on here, and I'm mindful.


Big non-acceptance. But you could also be accepting and not be mindful of it. Like I throw you a ball, you could catch it without really being mindful. And then you could be talking to Tyler. I throw you the ball, you catch it. And I said, did you know you caught a ball now? You say, what? So you can be in conversation and not be mindful. However, if you're in conversation and you are mindful, I would say the conversation is more wholehearted. it works better. You can also be mindful that you're not up for conversation. However, if you are mindful that you're not up for conversation, that will be compatible with an evolutionary process where you will want to be in conversation. Because if you're aware that you're not wanting to be in conversation, you'll see how stressful that is. and you'll gradually see, actually, I do want to be in conversation. I actually did not want to a few minutes ago, but then I really was there for that, and I saw that that was really not what I want.


I was, you know, like, you know, you could say to me, Reb, do you want to have a conversation? I'd say, no, and you could say, yes, you do. And I might go, you're right. But I might not be able to do that if I wasn't, like, listening to you. And listening to me, when you said, do you want to have a conversation? And I said, no. I said, no. You said, yes, you do. I said, yeah, actually, yeah. So there's a lot of possibilities here, but mindfulness is part of the conversation being maturing. And if you're not, if you have immature conversational skills, immature enthusiasm for having conversations, then being aware of that, and confessing that you're not very skillful with conversations and you're not very skillful because you don't want to get skillful and you can see that that's not skillful and you confess it and you're sorry, that's the beginning of becoming skillful at conversations.


A teaching? Yes. A teaching I would give you is... say, I'm so grateful that I had a conversation. I'm so grateful that I have a conversation, and I want to have more of them. Say that. I'm so grateful that I have... I'm so grateful that I had that conversation, And I want to know many more. Yeah. Thank you. That's a teaching which I recommend to all of us. To remember that. That if you have had conversations and you appreciate them, to note that. And that's a confession, but you might not feel repentance. You might feel more like, that's what I want to do. And if I don't do that, I hope I notice, I want to notice and confess it, because I want to do it.


OK. Thank you very much for another amazing Tuesday night at the temple of yoga.