Cause and Effect? (Karma?)

Ben Keen, modified 9 Years ago.

Cause and Effect? (Karma?)

Posts: 163 Join Date: 5/28/12 Recent Posts
I'm a bit confused about all this and wondered if anyone could offer any guidance.

Been meditating on and off for a while but never really 'got' it before. Now I'm starting to have enough mindfulness to see what's actually going on in real time in daily life without just being lost in it.

I'm starting to see (off cushion) how a sound will give rise to a thought which will lead to a body sensation etc. I experimented a few nights ago by allowing myself to wallow in my usual self-pitying thinking patterns and realised that I felt worse 2 hours later. I can feel chains of thought approaching when I'm on the bus etc and I'm being given the opportunity to follow them or not (I somehow 'know' where they're typically headed.)

I can go into a shop and if they haven't got what I want I can feel anger build as a physical sensation in my chest.

I'm also having lots of insights into karma and how thinking negative thoughts now sows this seed and deepens grooves of negativity in the brain. Or how treating people well will sow goodwill into the universe.

I also realised that the common thought 'I'll get bored' (when sitting) that often comes up is actually just a burst of verbal talk and that there's no-one 'behind' it to get 'bored' (thoughts without a thinker?). It's the thought itself that is 'bored' (?)

Is all this just really obvious? Insights into stuff like this just keep coming all day long and I'm starting to think of others much more and be less selfish. Like I'll call my Mum now 'cos I know it'll make her happy - not so bothered about what 'I' want to happen? Is this all a natural early part of the path - or just stuff that would be obvious to a 5 year old?
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Tommy M, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Cause and Effect? (Karma?)

Posts: 1199 Join Date: 11/12/10 Recent Posts
Hey Ben, welcome to the DhO.

I'm also having lots of insights into karma and how thinking negative thoughts now sows this seed and deepens grooves of negativity in the brain. Or how treating people well will sow goodwill into the universe.

In terms of the Progress of Insight model, you've almost certainly encountered 2nd ñana, Knowledge of Cause & Effect. Just remember, the words used to describe these things are not the experiences themselves; when you say things like "deepens the grooves of negativity in the brain", remember that this is just a metaphor for what you're experiencing. In actuality, there are no "grooves of negativity" in the brain since such cerebral indentations would undoubtedly be indicative of a serious problem requiring professional attention! emoticon

I also realised that the common thought 'I'll get bored' (when sitting) that often comes up is actually just a burst of verbal talk and that there's no-one 'behind' it to get 'bored' (thoughts without a thinker?). It's the thought itself that is 'bored' (?)

You're describing some really good insights here, if you're able to notice your experience at this level just now then you've got the skills to make progress should you wish to. What you've said demonstrates an understanding of "anatta", or "no(t)-self", this suggests to me that you've gotten as far as 3rd ñana, Knowledge of The Three Characteristics. The Three Characteristics, if you're not already aware of them, are no-self, impermanence, and suffering; they are fundamental to the entire thing and to be aware of them is to have the tools to facilitate freedom.

Is all this just really obvious? Insights into stuff like this just keep coming all day long and I'm starting to think of others much more and be less selfish. Like I'll call my Mum now 'cos I know it'll make her happy - not so bothered about what 'I' want to happen? Is this all a natural early part of the path - or just stuff that would be obvious to a 5 year old?

Don't beat yourself up just because you're new to something, we all started out somewhere. It just so happens that you've stumbled on one of the most useful, helpful and practical communities available and involved in this sort of thing. Also, don't be a martyr and think that you need to suffer for the benefit of others, it doesn't work like that, you need to sort yourself out first before you can help anyone else. It's nice to hear that you're being more considerate of others, that's a good and useful thing for all manner of practical reasons; remember, the Buddha taught three trainings: Morality, Concentration and Insight, morality being the first and the last since we all need to live skilfully in this world, regardless of attainments.

So, tell us a bit more about yourself and your practice; what's your current practice, how long have you been doing this seriously? What is it that you're looking to achieve through these practices?

I'm sure you'll find some useful advice, one way or another, so ask questions and use the search function to read up on stuff you're curious about. Chances are, someone's already asked the question and got an answer.

All the best,
- Tommy

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