The Way It Is

A Dhamma Reflection offered by Ajahn Sumedho on 6 March 2021

This is the half-moon Observance Day, and we have the opportunity to reflect on Dhamma, the way it is.

For each one of us, the way it is right now is going to be different: with our own moods, memories, thoughts, expectations or whatever. When we try to compare one person with another, we get confused because we’re all different. On the level of saṅkhāras, or conditioned phenomena, everything is different. Nothing can stabilize into a permanent quality or condition; it’s beyond the ability of saṅkhāras, which by their very nature are changing. The Buddha taught, ‘Sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā – all conditions are impermanent. This is the way it is. They change. Saṅkhāras are like this. They can be of any quality: low or high, good or bad, right or wrong, material or mental or emotional, and their nature is anicca (impermanent), dukkha (unsatisfactory) and anattā (non-self).

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Field of blessings

Ajahn Sucitto

Based on who we associate with and surround ourselves with, a field is generated where we pick up the behaviours and tonalities. One trains to generate a supportive field for training and learning. Whatever the field, open to what you’re in, get a feel for that, and aim for what is honourable, steady and balanced.

Moving through the world

Ajahn Sucitto

How we meet and move through our world determines our experience of it. If we can shift our volition, the world changes. Contemplate the proper intention for whatever you’re a part of – best thing to stop suffering is to be in harmony with it. Breathing in, breathing out, setting aside any hint of ill-will, open to your world with the gentle quality of suffusing goodwill. 

Easing into wholeness

Ajahn Sucitto

We use the forms of everyday life to notice what the mind makes out of them, the accumulations that occur. The theme is stay with the whole, stay connected, let the details go. What’s behind the inclination to move out? The stable reassuring quality of attention over the whole form – without ill-will, closing down, or dismissal – results in the freedom and happiness we seek. 

Skilful signs skilful absorption

Ajahn Sucitto

By its nature, mind is absorptive. In skillful cultivation we steer that towards internal
qualities of contentment, unity, release. This is how we are gladdened – the nervous system steadies and cools, body gets happy, mind composes itself, then you begin to see things clearly – what’s causing the distortions, stress and struggle, and you stop doing it, stop throwing your heart away to your obsessions. Settle into the goodness, drink it in. Wisdom arises from here.

A breath of kindness to the kammic field

Ajahn Sucitto

Kamma is a feedback loop of actions and results, out of which comes the experience of ‘me’. We use meditation to step out of the scenarios, recognise the process and change the patterns. Once you see it, you get the meaning – ‘a suffering being’– and the response is sympathy. Use the energy of breathing to calm and clear afflictive states, replacing them with healing.

Upright mind, upright body

Ajahn Sucitto

Bring attention to where body and mind come together in the upright. Upright is not just anatomical, but energetic – where you feel balanced, poised, wakeful. Relax the stress in body and mind with the calming effects of breathing. As mental and bodily energies gather and steady around the center, citta can rest here, and begin to experience its collectedness. 

Forgiveness and gratitude

Ajahn Sucitto

Suffering tends to isolate us into a small tight heap forming around a particular topic. In this narrow field we lose access to gladness, self-acceptance, and forgiveness. Breathing through the agitating energies, feel them as just that – it’s not personal, we can rise above. Willing to touch what’s difficult with gladness, we can meet the failing world without getting upset.