Welcome to Mangala Shri Bhuti’s Dharma Blog

Welcome to Mangala Shri Bhuti’s Dharma Blog, where we explore the dharma, which we have been fortunate to come into contact with. In a word, what is “dharma”? We can say it is the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni. We can also say dharma represents certain truths or “the facts of life”. But most essentially, we’ve found that dharma comes to mean an awakening of our own active intelligence about the causes of suffering and happiness. This process is ignited by the teachings we hear and catalyzed further by our contemplation and practice. Join us in appreciating and deepening our understanding of dharma through these excerpts by Mangala Shri Bhuti’s teachers and senior students.

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Lately, I’ve heard a lot about people who possess kind natures and good qualities, yet who are haunted by feelings that shake them deeply from within. As one of my friends puts it, she feels shaky inside “at the very depth of her core.” So I would like to speak about how to relate to this shaky state of mind. I think one of the first things that happens is that people lose a tremendous amount of self-confidence when they feel shaken deeply at the core of their being.

There are many reasons why one might feel deeply shaken at the core of one’s being. But nonetheless I think the main effect of this feeling is that it makes a person quickly lose their basic self-confidence. As soon as you feel this way, you relate to it as a weak state of mind. Then what happens is you immediately identify yourself as a weak person. From this, we fixate ever more solidly on all that caused the feeling to arise—whichever concerns or worries, whatever anxieties or projections we had in the first place. So this inflames the feeling of shakiness even more.

In ordinary circumstances, when you have some concern or anxiety, it’s not that bad because you generally accept it as part of life. You may even understand that to feel concerned at times is actually good, and sometimes feeling a little anxious is just part of being a sensitive human being.

But when you become concerned and worried at a time when you are already feeling shaky at the depth of your core, the experience gets completely colored by the perception of yourself as being weak. Everything swells up out of that sense of weakness and overtakes your mind, leaving you feeling completely lost in your own craziness.

With a feeling of shakiness at the depth of one’s core, what you would normally consider to be merely ordinary states of mind feel instead like utterly losing control, or like going a little bit crazy. This feeling of going crazy is a double anxiety. Nothing else is really happening other than what normally happens in our regular state of mind. But when you’re feeling deeply shaken in the depths of your heart, there’s a sense of feeling like you are being attacked from those very depths  just when you are feeling most vulnerable. And because you have identified yourself as being weak, you have already surrendered the best part of your own strength, the strongest part of your own mind.

I think it is this identification of being weak from the very beginning that triggers this “super anxiety.” Ordinarily, we would just accept such a state as a kind of normal temporary anxiety, but in this case, because of the self-perception of being weak, it blossoms into a super anxiety.

Of course nobody wants to be in this state of mind. If someone is a seasoned meditator who knows their mind, they can have a sense of humor about the activity of their mind and perhaps see all the different states of mind with some equanimity and without aversion to these uncomfortable states. They might be able to identify the causes and conditions that have brought about a particular state of mind. Looking at the causes and conditions—looking right into the eye of these particular states of mind—is interesting. We can see that they have a lot of “charge” or potential. And that charge sometimes can actually challenge the practitioner to become even more awake.

But for a person without this type of relationship to their mind, they will most likely feel great aversion to this state of mind. The aversion itself makes the state of mind even more intense and, furthermore, affects their nervous system. It is almost like electricity flowing from the heart throughout the rest of your body when you feel quite shaken and raw. Often people will describe their hands and legs going numb, or they become all sweaty, and lose their memory. They are in a kind of zone of their own. I know these things do happen.

This combination of the anxiety and the aversion and the losing of one’s self-confidence, along with the surrendering of one’s strength, and the admission of one’s own weakness, altogether feels as if you have been hit by a truck.

I hope everyone understands that all this is actually not so terrible, it is all just a state of mind. Yes, it is intense and it is difficult but, after all, it’s just another state of mind. I don’t think that whoever goes through this is actually in any danger of losing their mind. It takes more than that to lose one’s mind.

To remedy this process, there are three things that I feel confident will really work.

The first is to actually feel some faith—faith in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha), or faith in whatever positiveness exists in the world, as well as the goodness inherent in sentient beings. Feel your basic faith in anything that warms your heart, which probably feels very cold and icy during those trembling moments when you are most shaky.

Faith provides some strength to that heart which is trembling and icy. Faith is very interesting. Faith is a choice we make. It’s not something beyond us, or a case simply of whether you have it or don’t have it. It’s a choice. One chooses to have faith.

The moment you choose to have faith in this situation you’ve made a decision. You can either swim in this icy water full of confusions, becoming more and more petrified in this experience, even allowing yourself to become like a block of petrified wood, or you can preserve your tender heart. In these moments, your naturally good heart can be warmed with faith in the greater existence of the world, whether it is the Three Jewels, or the goodness present in the world and in all people.

Something needs to warm your heart independently from what you are seeing only from your side. Once that happens, you feel immediately a certain relief and a sense of light coming through this darkness. That is why this choice to have faith can be so important.

Continues Next Week with Part 2: Accepting All Outcomes

Taken from Personal Link talk # 221 | Date of talk: 04-09-2006

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