Gathering of energy

Sopisa shared a Dhamma talk last week about Jhana's in daily life. I forgot a good part of that talk, save for 1 line - "What you need to do, do it fully. What you don't need to do, don't do it at all".

It's one of those self-evident advice which forces you to revisit the gap between your beliefs and actions. At least that's what it did for me, and boy, what a gap it revealed.

I reflected that I have these periods of letting go, usually after a meditation retreat or Dhamma talk, but they are followed by a gradual picking up of things - new interests, hobbies, books, bikes, goals, friends. And this ignorance is not for a lack of Dhamma knowledge. We have an innate desire to want. Wanting makes our ego come alive. In the absence of widsom, we imagine a false dichotomy between the ambitious go-getter and the demotivated navel-gazing lazy bum. There is a 3rd way full of life and action, but the fuel comes from compassion and focus.

In that mode of life, there isn't an incessant need to explore, to be distracted. You are gathered and deeply contented with the present, with your mission in life, with your tasks at hand. Does that make your life boring? Depends on who you are performing for. To the unwise, outwardly, that life can seem like the equivalent of grass growing. But you know what they say about old age - you realise nobody is watching anyway.

This gathering of energy applies at all levels of life - from choice of career all the way down to your moment-to-moment direction of focus. Even now as I type this at a coffee shop, I feel a constant pull to look around at the people around me. But if I investigate the source of that pull, it comes from a sense of self that wants to see and hopefully feel something. That "feeling" of something, hopefully pleasant, but surprising doesn't have to be, that is the food of the ego.

So you just have to look clearly to realise that this self is an illusion, there is a bigger knowing beyond that, and you can just gently resist the temptations as a form of muscle-building. Every temptation you resist is like an additional log you add to your fire of focus, thus building up its intensity. Likewise, every temptation you succumb to is like a douse of water, weakening it.

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