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Birthing the Heart: Integrity

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2014-01-07
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



Last year’s series on Dependent Origination showed how we continually invalidate the true perception of reality by forming reality through our assumptions. We cover the present with the past and then pretend that we have a firm place within a world of known objects. This talk on integrity is the beginning of a new series called, “Birthing the Heart.”  In this series we will be calling the heart out of hiding by directing our attention to the quiet that surrounds and holds all things. To live abiding within stillness, which is the culmination of a liberated mind, requires attention to several details. The first detail we will flesh out is integrity. Integrity is a central issue in dharma growth because stillness requires everything to be aligned within our hearts and minds. When some part of our mind is in discord, internal chatter ensues, assuring the veil of noise will project a very different world than seen though quietude. Our internal chatter holds our lives as we know them to be which is often rancorous and insatiable. An aligned perception is called integrity, wholeness of heart, or the state of being unimpaired.


Please choose the homework that resonates the most:

Integrity is inward and outward alignment of body, speech, and thought. It is living in accordance with your understanding. Where are you out of alignment? One way we stay fractured and distorted is through our internal self-criticism. Your self-criticism usually develops over time by judging your mental states forcing you to believe that you should be different than the way you are in this moment. Notice that tendency and counter it by saying to yourself, “The way I am here and now.” Relax with this display and do not fight it as if there were an alternative. There is no alternative to “you” in this moment and the full embrace of yourself is the gateway to integrity. From relaxation you can make skillful choices, but from tension those choices will often be unskillful.


This week work with the phrase, “And this too.” Work to allow the noise and the stillness to co-exist. Don’t separate out one from the other. All the experiences and the thinking about them are just the mind having its say. The narrative (the mind) will divide the experience between good and bad, this vs. that, and therefore you cannot allow the narrative to set the tone and direction. Stop and see if this is true. The narrative is not the complete picture. If thoughts seem too intrusive, stop and look at the thought and see whether it holds the whole perception or is partial and incomplete. Be interested in the heart that does not divide or turn away. The whole is more than the sum of the parts, and the stillness that is part of every moment, frames the whole. The heart (stillness) sees no problem because it does not stop with the narrative but hears the silence as well.


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