After decades of practice and teaching, what inspires me are those moments when I can see the habitual as if it were for the first time. If such moments occur while I'm giving a talk, then the teacher in me can hear its own words imbued with the freshness imparted by those who truly listen -- the multiple aspects of myself being part of the audience as well. Thanks for your participation in the process.
Most of what comes our way (time, history, ideas, etc.) tends to be used as raw material for building mental frames of reference. While these mental structures bring a simulacrum of stability to our lives, in the end they are most unhelpful because we tend to cling to them. We'd do well to hold them loosely.
Choice has been acclaimed by our culture as the key to happiness. However, our picking and choosing frenzy does little to allay our dissatisfaction. Rather, this frenzy becomes a tool for the ego. The talk examines alternative ways of finding happiness.
In our efforts to avoid the trap of polarities—like pleasant/unpleasant, or good/evil— we may fall into the trap of avoidance, i.e. of ignorance. The true Middle Way results from the wisdom of a well-trained mind, capable of seeing through deception whether initiated by self or by other.
Arisings that occur "out there" trigger their match in the screen of our mind. In the arising of experiences—like with the experience of community life and of individual life—there is also the opportunity to experience awareness itself.
Dualism can be described as a polarity project. We polarize our options as desirable or undesirable, and lose interest in that which does not fall into either extreme. This duality provides a footing for clinging and for the birth of the I. Seeing through this charade helps us unlearn it.
As the Buddha showed, clinging gives birth to the I. The I, in turn, keeps puffing itself up by further clinging. When we understand that this generates nothing but suffering, we are ready to unlearn the I, that is the "Me."