Ajahn Brahm explains how using a combination of compassion with wisdom we can free ourselves and others of life’s problems.
Is it really possible to be happy in the world? Or is there something inherently wrong with the system, and no matter what we do with our relationships, with our circumstances, with our mind, that we can’t really be happy? Ajahn Brahm takes us deeper into the notion of what happiness really is, and how true happiness can be found.
If you’ve got an itchy head, would you scratch your bum? Ajahn Brahm explains that one of the elements of the spiritual path is the attention and wisdom to recognise where and when you have a problem and thereby directing your efforts in that area – rather than the wrong area – in order to get a the right result. And ultimately we need to recognise the causes of happiness and suffering within ourselves, rather than blaming others for our problems.
A hint of irreverence for all forms of superstition and lashings of humour in this talk by Ajahn Brahm, serve to stress that it’s only our personal accountability and actions that make a difference.
The “Information Age” we now live in seems to have ushered in this hectic, new pace of working that’s driving us all a bit crazy. And it feels unsustainable. How do you think we ended up here?
Ajahn Brahm shares some advice on how to maintain a wise balance in our lives.
A public talk given at the Buddhist Fellowship, Singapore, 2014.
Ajahn Brahm gives a talk on how silence can foster a peace and calm in the mind, and be a support for the arising of wisdom.
Taken from a public talk given at Monash University Religious Centre.
Having been asked about the role of helping and serving others, Ajahn Brahm talks about both the beauty and goodness of helping others, but also the dangers like over-committing and burning out. Ajahn Brahm talks about how to help and serve others using both compassion and wisdom.
Okay very good. So far this evening’s talk there was an interesting suggestion which somebody sent to me and it is a little subject to try and spin a talk around over spirituality and just meaning and helping one’s life get better, and the subject of the talk was SPACE! So be prepared to space out for this talk. As we talk not just about outer space, but inner space too. We will start with the outer space and I remember from when I used to watch TV 40 years ago StarTrek, The Final Frontier! As I like to say “to boldly go where no monk has ever gone before”. If I am right to boldly go where no man has gone before. So I say to boldly go where no monk has gone before. Because since I am a monk I like to get new ideas, new subjects for talks and just explore them. To start off with space, because many of you know that before I was a monk I was a theoretical physicist. One of my great joys was astrophysicis, exploring the meaning of space and outer space and finding out what it actually really is. It is brilliant to actually allow your head to be taken apart by all these theorems that people wrote on the black board of the universities and to start to see things in totally different ways. Some of those ways you learn to see things expanded your awareness and it had consequences in your daily life. Not just theories, not just mental gymnastics just for the sake of it, it was actually quite powerful with what it meant. One of the first little meanings, and I said this about over a month ago, but I love saying this again, was about the meaning of space having no boundaries to it. Boundless space, but what that really meant to me was as a young man I do recall just thinking about the space and how far does it go? Is it infinite or does it have edges to it? If it has an edge, is it a wall? Is it a fence? Is it just a place where you go further and you fall off? If you fall off where do you fall into because you can’t fall into space because that space has ended. For me it was never very clear how you could have an end to space. Also how can it be infinite either? What I learned in science in theoretical physics if you haven’t heard before that this space, this universe in which we live, “it is limited”. It only has a limited size, it does not go on forever, but its got no edges to it. No boundaries. How this was explained to me in is consequence to this little anecdote, in which you will find out in a few minutes. As it was explained to me it was like an ant crawling over a basketball, I would say a football if I was in Europe or UK, but over here football suggests an AFL so a rugby ball and are not round but imagine the round ball like a basketball and an ant crawling on the surface goes round and round and round and round and round and round and notices it’s a finite area, but it hasn’t got any edges to it. That was the description given to me at Cambridge about the nature of this universe and nature of space. “It is curved”. You go far enough and you actually come back to where you began just like the ant goes round the ball eventually retraces were was before but it has no edges to it. “Space is curved.” Limited size, but no boundaries and of course we know that there we always thought the earth was flat before until we realized we got a heads around the fact that it is round, it is a ball. It has got no edges to, but it is limited area. That is the same as space, but where I made the next step was to “time”.
Just like space having no edges but being finite. Time is the same. It has no edges no beginnings no ends. I know when people thought the earth was flat, it has beginnings and ends if you sail far enough you will fall off, and as what people think about time, there is an end of time when everything finishes and more interestingly there is a beginning of time the first edge before which there was no time. The answer was not a satisfying idea, time with an edge means has to be a god, there has be a big bang creator, first of all stuff. Why should there be? And the best solution instead of being a flat timer, which what most people are these days like flat earthers, we are a bent time, so time goes round and round. No beginning, no end and that starts to solve a lot of the problems of religion and also philosophy. So that’s where we start from but then also as well as outer space we go to the inner space at all because, yeah sure if you ever see any photos of videos of what it’s like when you get outside the atmosphere, Is nothing there? But we always saw where we come back home and we come and sit on solid ground, solid ground, ha ha ha! That is just an illusion you have all seen in the science program that when you’re sitting here concrete is just a bunch of atoms and those atoms are so far apart that there is so much space between the atoms that it is 99.99999999, it goes on a long way, space. And the atoms are just tiny little thing compared to the space between it. So even on this planet earth you know what you’re sitting there is nothing there it is mostly space. If you go inside the atom, the old ways of looking at the atoms, electrons and the nucleus and the nucleus is so tiny, even one atom is 99.999999999 and goes on, absolutely nothing. And then you go inside a proton and it is just a few ?, nothing there. It is 99.999999999 percent nothing. In fact even solid stuff is mostly space. That really sort of freaks me out when I think the only reason I am standing up here or sitting up and not falling through is the play of forces, but actually there is nothing really there at all, total space. As human beings we forgot to really notice space we notice things instead, and that’s one of our mistakes or perception. So whenever you get into a room what do you notice when you come into this room? Maybe the Buddha statue behind me, who is the monk giving the talk today, a few friends outside, the carpet, the walls, but how many of you instead of looking at the things in the room look at the space between us. The space in this room is far bigger than all the people and the things. Sometimes we say “Ah, this room is full”, it is not full, there is heaps and heaps of space. If you go with someone who observes space rather than things it gives you a different perspective on life and also you can use that even through your financial advantage in your work. For example you know I travel around a lot I just come back on New Year’s Eve. Went travelling over to Singapore and Malaysia and I have often noticed how much space is wasted in the aircraft. I can make this wonderful idea for any person who wants to start a new airline we can double the capacity simply by asking people to sit cross-legged on the floor instead of seats and in a normal aircraft you can get two levels if people sit on the floor. There is so much space wasted around their heads. If you put what you’re doing now, you can put sort of an extra two meters, you can put two rows of people if you sit cross-legged, so on my airline, Buddha air there will be no seats, everyone will just be sitting on the floor cross-legged maybe will give you a free cushion and a bigger cushion for business class, but smokers in economy class but, that way you can get twice as many people in the aircraft, and I mean it’s cheaper and you get more profits, so what a wonderful thing. That’s when you start noticing space, and also why is it, now you really shouldn’t do that, because space is beautiful to give space between people. Have you noticed that sometimes you too close to someone you feel really cramped, why can’t we have more space in our life? The trouble is we are afraid of space so much so that I look in your houses, which I visit from time to time and how much junk have you got in your house. If instead of looking at things you look at space. How much space do you have in your house and don’t think ah I got a space on that wall I need to buy something to stick on it, there is a corner there and I need to buy something to stick in the corner. I have a free room, I have to put something in it. Why is it that people hate space? I will put things in, why is it when people go into the wilderness they go up a mountain, what is the first thing you do when they get to the top of the mountain? Put a stupid flag on the top, spoiling it and the flag is only the first thing they put on top of a mountain. Give them a few more years and it will say “restaurant” on top of the mountain. Why can’t you leave the mountain free, beautiful empty space instead of thinking there is an empty place I have to put something in it. Why is it we cannot reveal and cherish space simply because we are materialists we have conditioned and trained to notice things and to value things and get more things. That is why our world gets SO full and jammed and packed, it is terrible, we can’t move because there is not enough space. Because we don’t value space. So it is incredible when we change our perceptions and then we get open areas we say this is full of space, so we can’t fit anything else in this room. That room, what is there? It is my space room and keep it like that. #1, the more spacious your room, what that means the more spacious your house, but people say spacious houses, they mean big houses and are still as cluttered as anything else. You go into my house, many of you have visited my house, my cave, and there is nothing in there. People say where is your stuff? What do you mean my cave is full of space, that’s why I love to meditate because I value the space, I value the emptiness. Imagine this is one of my old huts years, and years ago, there was this women’s group that met every Wednesday afternoon nothing much to do. They were just retired or semi retired and they have a club and go and they go and visit interesting or weird places nothing are modestly came under the second category when they organize a visit manages. This is quite a few years ago, Buddhist monks this is weird know what they’re up to, what they do, and all sorts of stuff such as an interesting afternoon out for the girls. So I took them around, I remember taking them inside my hut to have a look around, Is this it? They asked, is this in this where you live and sleep? It is only about 3 m x 2.4 m, the old huts we used to live. As they looked around and there was nothing there; no TV, no radio, no cook, and no bed, sleep on the floor. They said it is all where you live? I said yay, “this is it. “If only I lived in a place like this” they said I would get my housework done in half an hour and they were really jealous. Because how doesn’t take much to maintain to clean up your houses. They got two big houses are not spaciously cluttered and Imagine if you get rid of things, how quickly is to clean it up. So it is nice and free and empty, and spacious. That is real space and the size of your house but the amount of space you have in there compared to the amount of things, so maybe I should actually start, also my idea, for a new business a new Fred Myers store where we only sell space so you can get a couple of metres for a couple hundred dollars and put the space in your house free. Now when they value that space, what we are actually valuing is freedom, because when things get cluttered with that we lose our freedoms and we’re not just talking about space, physical space, but the space in your schedule, the time you have. How much space do you have in your weekly schedule or is it all just full up with things, with things to do, places to go, jobs to finish off, things to fix and sometimes we don’t give our daily schedule enough space because you don’t value that space is not important spaces fill up with something you have to do. What are you doing for the holiday period? Nothing. How come over here go over there and fill up your space. This is supposed be your holiday time, a time of rest. Many people are gonna go back to work on Monday morning two weeks over Christmas and New Years more tired than when they left work, they’re exhausted. I don’t know why that is people say “I can’t wait to get back to work I’m so tired”, some people say that. So one of the reasons why is because we don’t value the space, the emptiness, the freedom which space gives us. So just like you can value space in your house, space between houses, space in our cities. The city’s gardens and the parks they are so incredibly important for our well-being. It is a place we can just open up got no walls around us we can actually be free. I recall actually going to the Fremont Hotel, I have over 30 years now. On the first year here went to go get some teachings in your Fremont Hotel, When the prisoners were still there, I remember one of the things I noticed about going in that jail the walls were so high you can never see far distances, you had a look at really high to see the sky and so all these men inside the jail spent many years just noticing walls in front of them, never seeing space, never seeing the horizon, never being able to have this incredible privilege which you take for granted to go up onto a hill and to see forever, to see space all around you. There is something which is really important to be able to do that. So even if people were in a prison, if I designed a prison, I would like to do one, I would actually put a tower in the prison so prisoners can go up and see the sunsets, see the dawns. At least to get close to something which is incredibly therapeutic in nature and freeing. Yah they may be in a jail because they have done some crimes, but certainly they should not be to have the idea of space and freedom taken away from them totally. Prisoners complained about that and how incredibly perceptive you guys are, you realize that seeing no space, no freedom, no horizons was this torture which should be against human rights, but anyway, you have that opportunity to see great distances, do you take advantage of it? Do you get out of your house? Do you get on top of the house and just see great distances, you always say that when you have houses on top of hills are worth much more that’s also why we built monasteries on top of hills and mountains you can see the great space around it is so refreshing and sometime in big cities which are close to airports we can’t see very far. It is all plastic and unnatural there is something which is very unhealthy that causes people to be sick emotionally and physically in society. Going out where there is lots of space so many emotional problems. You have a sense of freedom all around you. The world is not encumbered anymore they can go wherever you want in any direction. In space you can see in any direction and there is nothing in between cluttering up your vision or even your cluttering up your imagination. The ability of your mind to see great distances, that so important spiritual and of course we need in our time as well, just like our cities become very cluttered so our schedules become very cluttered so it’s up to you to grab those spaces give them importance and so the parks and the gardens in your time in your day, the places where you can just hang out and do nothing is so important. Sometimes I feel a bit of a fake teaching meditation, because all I am teaching you is how to do nothing and its most difficult thing people can do. That’s why meditation retreats give me something to do. Now, I don’t just meditate and how do you do meditation? You don’t do meditation stupid! you just don’t do anything, but I need something to do. Is it not strange that what should be the most simplest of all things for human beings to do to find space in their minds, space in time, space just to hang out and be, not cluttered, not having things to do, not having objects in the mind, like having objects in your house so you can go freely through this 30 minutes of meditation, no encumbrances, nothing to bang up again, nothing to trip over, just totally through, because there is nothing there. That is the meaning of space. When one values space, this is the key to it, value it, give it importance, cherish it, it is more important than things. Because when you actually think of space between people the space between you and your lover that’s where the relationship happens sometimes we think it is his fault, sometimes we think it is her fault. It is not his fault, it is not her fault. All the problems don’t exist in their partner, they don’t exist in yourself, they exist in the space between the two of you and sometimes with counselling people having trouble with living with another person that becomes a focus on, not your partner, not yourself. What was going on between the two of you? Even as you visualize a space between you and your lover, your partner, what’s happening in there? what are you putting in that space? what you put in that space that’s the effectual relationship, hundred percent totally. A lot of time we put fear in that space. We actually choose to put fear in that space. No fear what he’s gonna say? what he’s gonna do? fear whether it is going to happen. Whatever you put in that space affects the way you look at that person. Sometimes you put suspicion, I have seen it happen so many times in marriages after a few years, the husband comes home late and you think Oh! My goodness he is coming home late, he must be having an affair, he is not having an affair, there is lots of work on at the office, you know, trust the guy. The wife is like dressing up really nicely, she must be having sort of a partner on the side, she’s not, she is becoming a bit more self-confident experimenting with her looks, her hair or whatever. Why is it we are so suspicious of one another we actually put suspicion in the middle of our relationships and that causes a huge amount of problems for us and even actually a relationship with ourselves. Again sometimes we put too much negativity in the relationship that space between the relationship of ourselves and in order to change that you know that some of my old little tricks and techniques are told to someone just before, and that is why it is in the front of my mind. I just tell it to so many people, people in Malaysia, in (place), in Singapore such a simple way to put some fun and silliness in the space between you and the other person, especially you and yourself. And I do that a lot of the time, I’m really silly monk. Sometimes messing around, putting fun between things and so the one which I have been teaching people is that you get up in the morning, do your 10 push-ups, as soon as I say 10 push-ups and New Year’s resolution to lose weight or something, “it is not a New-Years resolution” to lose weight, I do my 10 push-ups every morning. I have not lost weight yet, but I have a lot of fun and the 10 push-ups if you haven’t heard before; in the morning, you get up, go into the bathroom, stand in front of your mirror, get out your two fingers and push-up 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6 it works in front of a mirror just by you looking at me doing something stupid like that, straighaway you’re putting a bit of stupidity between you and the image of you in the mirror. What a beautiful way to start the day, why are people so serious in life. There is enough to be serious about, but what about space of fun and joy. Remember that Patch Adams guy who would mess around like hell in the hospital and so many people got better, they tried to get rid of him and sack him for not being what a doctor was supposed to be. What is a doctor supposed to be anyway? But he was doing it differently. He was having so much joy and fun doing stupid things, he actually gets increased security in hospitals just by putting a bit of fun between him and the patients. Of course really serious stuff, someone is dying of cancer, if they are really sick, I will tell you a story, there was a Tibetan Buddish nun here many years ago, and there was not that many mons and nuns, we don’t care what tradition you are, we are all Buddhists and so we look after one another. And so she was in the hospice at the old hospice they had in Shenton Park, which closed down, it was a crime to close up the place, but nevertheless, what can you do? So I went to visit her one day because she called me from Serpentine. It is an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half to that place. Anyway she called me, word came through that she said “look I’m dying”. Can you come visit me before I die? This is happened to me a lot of times in my job in a really close to death because you go visit people all the time who are dying, do funerals and stuff. So many times I’ve noticed this is anecdotally, you may have the same experience when a person says they are going to die in a day or two, they always do it. The doctors can’t say, but they know they are on their way out in another day or two and I’m gonna die and they always get it right. So this is what this lady said so when she said she was going to die in a day or two I realized that she is not making this up, she is going to go and I must go visit her quickly. So I went all the way from Serpentine to Shenton Park, dropped everything I was doing, the building stuff, and other stuff I was supposed to do, this was important. I arrived at the Shenton Park hospice, I had to check in with the nurse first of all and the nurse was this middle aged to aged irish nurse and I described her as the Margaret Thatcher of nursehood. Because she was just one character. When I went up to her and asked her “what room is the nun in”? “You can’t see her”, “ I have come all this was just to see her” I don’t care how far you have come, we must respect our patient’s whishes”. “Must’nt we”. She was really fierce at me. I know you think I am soft, but I can stand up for myself and I said “she called me a few minutes ago and asked me to come here. She got really upset with me, she glared at me, “come with me”. As I followed her and we went to the door of this patient’s little room. Sure enough there was a notice on it. The notice said “absolutely no visitors” and the nurse looked at me and said “SEE” there’s are visitors. I looked closely, you know what it said? It said except Ajahn Brahmavamso, and a Buddhist should not do this, but I could not resist “See”. She deserved it, but I really should be more compassionate and kind. She just went off in a huff, that was one of my memorable moments, getting my own back, but of course went in the door. The first thing I said when she welcomed me was ask, why did you put the notice saying no visitors except for me and she told me, this is important for you, she said , when I have all these visitors and they see me riddled with cancer, only got a day and a half to two days to go, look at me”. She did look like skin and bones, gaunt, not the person I knew six months ago. She said everybody who comes in to see me, they get so depressed and they get so upset seeing me like this one or two days from death. When they get so depressed and they start crying that makes me feel bad. I am bad enough as it is, I don’t need everybody else’s emotional baggage put on me. You’re the only monk, only person who comes into the room and doesn’t get upset and instead tells me jokes, so another joke please, and that is what I did for about an hour or two. She was laughing because she wanted to be treated as a person; I was the only one who could do that. Instead of someone dying, someone sick, people just saw her body. I saw something much more than that, much more valuable than that, because I put respect between me and her and see deeper than the sickness. How many times when you see a person just you see the sickness. You don’t see the person much more than the sickness and so we can do that and she valued that so much. I treated her as if I was just treating a person I knew and went for a cup of coffee with in the afternoon. I refused to see her sickness, I refused to see the fact that she was gonna die as everyone else was seeing. She knew that, she wants to see something bigger in her so now between the space between us I can have this beautiful relationship. Take away the fear, taking away the negativity, taking away the disappointment and putting something positive. I often teach people that if you want a relationship with anybody have a look at what you put between you and that person because that is what you look through to that person, fear, anger, this is my enemy, so you put anger between you and you look through that anger, see all the faults in the person of course will do that, every now and again you do this automatically as someone you really like and care for maybe your mother visits from England or a really best friend you haven’t seen for a while, they come for New Year’s or Christmas time, and you have so much fun spending time with them, so you put love between you and that person and that’s what you see that what they show you back. I have done that a lot with visiting people in prison, talk about prison experiences simply because these are extremes, people have done terrible things in their life and when I go to the prison I actually put respect between me and the prisoner so I can see things in them which are wonderful and good, beautiful and kind. I see that through the respect which I put between that space between people when they come back to me it passes through respect and I see the beautiful part of them. Incredible, powerful effects in just connecting with a person. Can what I see in them they see themselves and what they see in themselves grows amazing just how they really get on and go about prison again. Remember dear old Nick he was in prison and I was teaching him meditation, he was a drug dealer. After a while, so after a while he left prison, went straight, and I remember seeing him in the airport just waiting for someone in the airport, I spent a lot of time in airports as you gather. Sitting in the airport someone put their hand on my shoulder, turned around and it was Nick “Hi Brahm”, he called me Brahm. Nick had a big smile on his face. “I still meditate everyday” he said. That is so cute that when you really help somebody and they are still doing the right things, simply because you learn the relationship exists in the space between people so just actually changing perception and seeing spaces rather than people, seeing the space between things in your house, rather than the things in your house, seeing this hall, actually I designed this hall, believe it or not. An architect just drew it up, basically my design and I wanted to just make it full of space and have very few things in it. Unfortunately, the alter behind me started really really simple, but people don’t like space they keep putting things on there, and not worshipping the Buddha, they are worshipping things. Have you been to any of these temples and churches that got so much stuff on it and sometimes people in a modern world they get upset, rightly so, why are you wasting all this money on stuff, when what the church or the temple or monastery is really teaching is space, emptiness, freedom. The first year over at the monastery I had some visitors and I remember this experience they came along and I saw the, so now you got a new monastery, Buddhist monastery, fantastic. Where is the monastery? It is here, your standing in it, but they had this idea that a monastery is a building they wanted to see some big structure like maybe what you see in Thailand or some big structure like a cathedral or something. Where is the Monastery? This is the monastery. The space is the monastery, not the things inside. This actually gives you a different perspective. What is a church? you know actually the meaning of the word church, if you look in the English dictionary find etymology was the people which is a gathering of human beings and after a while because they gathered in a building to protect themselves from the weather in the rain and the cold the snow and stuff. The meaning of the word church was transferred to the building and now we have buildings but no church anymore, the people have gone. Fascinating isn’t it. We forgot the meaning. This space is the most important part of spirituality. Once we focus on the space because the space is not just what’s between us it doesn’t just separate us, actually the space connects us. Remember doing a little ceremony for this conference we are doing next August, is a whole series of conferences and when they launch one in Singapore they invited me to go up for the launch and to make something for the papers, some event, so we got on a boat, got into the straights and we did a little ceremony of just throwing some, forgot what it was, some holy water, some flowers, into the straight since this would go every part of the work on the currents of the oceans. I was saying that the water does not actually separate the countries, the water actually connects us, we can look upon the space of two ways, we look upon the space is what separates us or what surrounds us, embraces us, connects us. Just a change of perception. The distance between you is not what separates, but connects us. Looking at backspace in a different way, look at all the space in this room that actually connects us, embraces us, folds us and keeps us safe. So we don’t have to be afraid of space if we change our perception of it. It can be something very beautiful and lovely. The spaces between, for example, me and my brother in England long way away, that space doesn’t separate us, that connects us, that’s the thread between us which may get stretched but will never disappear. The space is really beautiful and even when somebody dies they are not in their house anymore, but their space is still there. It connects us. You know that they are not gone. There has been and imprint there in space and that imprint just like in, if any of you studied homeopathy. I got very into homeopathy when I was in Thailand simply because there was no other medicine; the doctors were too far away. You had to just know look after yourselves and if you got bit by a snake or scorpion or hit your toe, there was actually nobody to help us, no ambulances, you had to look after yourself and so somebody suggested homeopathy. I really got into it, my personal experiences were great experiences when it worked for me. So anyway that was where use of taking something can you as take some sort of poison you added to water or alcohol shake it up and then you dilute it, dilute it, dilute it, until the changes of even one molecule of the original substance being in the final solution is zero, but it leaves and imprint somewhere. People, things, leave an imprint in space. This is part of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Just how massive objects leave an imprint in space, actually they bend space. That is actually where he explained his law of gravity, that space is not being something which has no texture or anything, space is like a membrane he called it. You put a massive object on the membrane and it bends the membrane. That’s what space is. Space is not something which is unaffected by the people within it. So when you come and live your human life you leave an imprint in space which is never eradicated just like massive objects and some of you especially me and massive objects we do bend space, time around us. Having that idea you actually leave an imprint in space in the universe. That is something quite fascinating to get your head around. You certainly know if a family member who has passed, they don’t go, they are dead, they are buried, they are cremated, but they don’t go, they leave an imprint in your life, they certainly leave an imprint in your heart. Those people never get forgotten and some of their teachings, some of the experiences you shared with them. They are there, just like the homeopathy this always leaves a trace of the original substance, a footprint even though there is no sand for the footprint to be seen, the footprint is there, somewhere and each one of your will leave a footprint on this world. Leave a footprint amongst the people you’ve known and live with and talk with. It is wonderful to know that the space carries information as well. It carries information of the people who lived in that space. Sometimes an indigenous culture, they always think that the land carries the imprint of the people who went before the ancestors, space does to, not just the land. It carries the echoes of the people who walk to the space before, feeling that, understanding that makes the life totally different, is not meaningless anymore spaces should be like the indigenous cultures value the land. I value space as well, the emptiness. When one understands that whether it is meditational or life it means that you are not so afraid of the end of things, the beginning of your life, the end of things, why should there be a beginning or an end liked I was mentioning in time, time being curved, life being curved as well. No beginning and no end. Yah, bodies come and go and life is something much different than the body. Life is just what does interact with space and space with your life. If you only respect space much more maybe you would have a much richer life respectively. Why is it that you go off into the bush, go off by the ocean, the beautiful things in Western Australia, you go to this ocean and look out over the ocean, the most beautiful part of it is nothing there. If you see a ship or a great tank or something it spoils the emptiness, spoils the space if something is there. We see nothing for miles as far as the horizon. There is something very moving about that. So this is actually reflecting and understanding really loving the idea of space, which connects us, in which we leave an imprint, in which we change space. Even changing space for the better so when you look at your house don’t just look at the stuff in your house, look at the space and worship it. When you go out into the community don’t just see how many cars are on the freeway there’s many but there is also much spaces as well. See the space, value the space and don’t feel so cluttered. Give more space in your daily schedule, also please give more space in your heart for people. Sometimes we think we can’t get many more people into our hearts, of course you can. One of the meditations I developed years ago was imagining when you start meditating, closing your eyes and imagine a circle inside that circle are all the people you like and love and care for. Just on the edge of the circle is all the people, yah they are okay, don’t really like them that much, but don’t hate them either, they’re just the ordinary people, they are not in your inner circle. The further you go away from the center of the circle the more you put the people you don’t like to way beyond the inner circle of people you really hate, despise , the people just really hurt you or hurt other people, the pedophiles, the tortures, all those people way up there and in this little mediation when you arrange the people and evens in the world the things and people alike in the center the further you get from the center the more you dislike them, then you expand your circle, give it more space to allow more people in. The more things you don’t like in, until the people who you’re neutral to, actually you quite like them, you bring them in with you and keep expanding your circle and expanding it and expanding it and expanding it until you have space for the whole universe with all its people, the really terrible people and the beautiful people they can all find space in your heart to. That’s a sign of an enlightened being, doesn’t reject anybody, but understands why people do bad thing. I can’t understand, only they know, sometimes they don’t know actually they don’t know for sure, being the wrong place at the wrong time, drugs, stupid whatever it was. There is so much more to that, is much greater whoever has hurt you, whoever is your enemy, don’t judge them so unfairly, there is far more to them than that. How many of you be judged? Many of you are the enemy of others. Some people just don’t like you. So then, a way to overcome that is just to see much more, see the other side of you, There is far more to them than that who don’t like you could see the real you, the whole you, all of you, then they would not reject you anymore. The same for you, you can do the same for others until we have such a hugh heart we can actually expand it to include everybody. Have more space in your heart for others, have more space in your heart for the pain of life so that’s important that we learn from. That is why actually like learning things like compassion and kindness and wisdom is part of life. Have more space in your heart but people do strange and weird things that we are reminded to bring to the meditation have space in the hart and so when we understand the importance of space, space in the heart, space in our day just to relax and be and get space in our schedule when we realize that doing nothing is important so you schedule that in. Doing nothing time every day “space”. Then we can understand just how important space is in your spiritual world, in your life, so please give yourself space. Value space, cherish space, then you will have a wonderful life. Thank you
Part two of a talk by Ajahn Brahm on the arising of insight in meditation and how the stillness of the mind trained in samadhi has the ability to see things clearly with wisdom. Taken from a 10 Day retreat at Jhana Grove in November 2013.
Part One of a talk by Ajahn Brahm on the arising of insight in meditation and how the stillness of the mind trained in samadhi has the ability to see things clearly with wisdom. Taken from a 10 Day retreat at Jhana Grove in November 2013.