In the opening line of the Dhammapada the Buddha teaches: "We are what we think with our thoughts we make the world." Although we have limited control over what happens to us, we can hold our experience with a wise perspective that makes all the difference. Famed Buddhist writer Christmas Humphreys put it this way: "The one miracle this path has to offer is a change of heart." We can change our relation to experience and make the shift from suffering to clear seeing, wisdom and compassion. In this talk James sings a song he wrote in his 20's entitled "It's All in Your Mind".
After clarifying further the fundamental practices of our retreat, particularly the three ways of seeing leading to liberating insight, we examine the third way of seeing—seeing anatta (or not-self). We focus less on understanding this way of seeing conceptually, and more on identifying two main ways of practicing—(1) opening to being mindful of the flow of experience, increasingly with a “thinned out” self or lack of self, and (2) noticing and being mindful of when there is a “thick” sense of self.
This meditation invites us to collect our attention with a calming breath, and then with the senses as a home base, settle into presence. The reminders encourage a letting go of thoughts, shifting from virtual reality into the aliveness of moment-to-moment experience. In that letting go into life we find the stillness, wakefulness and openness of our true nature.