By VENERABLE AJAHN SUMEDHO
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So much of life for so many people seems to be waiting and hoping for something to happen, expecting and anticipating some success or pleasure — or maybe worrying and fearing that some painful, unpleasant thing is just lying in wait. You may hope that you will meet somebody who you’ll really love or have some great experience, but attaching to hope takes you to despair. By wise reflection we begin to understand the things that create misery in our lives. We see that actually we are the creators of that misery.
We no longer expect conditions to be anything other than what they are, so that when they change we can patiently and peacefully endure the unpleasant side of existence. We can humbly endure sickness, pain, cold, hunger, failures and criticisms. If we’re not attached to the world we can adapt to change, whatever that change may be, whether it’s for the better or for the worse. If we’re still attached then we can’t adapt very well, we’re always struggling, resisting, trying to control and manipulate everything, and then 48 feeling frustrated, frightened or depressed at what a delusive, frightening place the world is.
In 29 Buddhist meditation we stay with the knowing: being aware, being awake, being Buddha in the present, knowing that whatever arises passes away and is not-self. We apply this knowing to everything, both the conditioned and the unconditioned. It is transcending — being awake rather than trying to escape — and it is all in the ordinary. We have the four normal postures of sitting, standing, walking and lying down — we don’t have to stand on our heads or do back-flips or anything. We use four normal postures and the ordinary breathing, because we are moving towards that which is most ordinary, the unconditioned.