This past weekend I attended a Mindfulness Yoga workshop at the Ann Arbor Zen Temple with instructor Frank Jude Boccio. He is both a Buddhist practitioner and a yoga teacher. He had a very easy-to-understand explanation of The Four Noble Truths which goes right to the heart of what I have been working on in my own personal practice lately.
Dukkha – Literally meaning “wrong hole,” as in a wheel that is mis-aligned, the Buddha reminds us that ‘stuff happens.’ We age, suffer illness and pain, are separated from what and whom we desire, are confronted with experiences we don’t want, and then we die.
Samudaya – In response to dukkha, feelings arise. When experience is pleasant, we thirst to prolong it, getting caught in grasping and clinging; when unpleasant, we get caught in resistance, thirsting for things to be different; and when neutral, we become confused or caught in boredom and ignorance. We thirst for distraction and oblivion.
Nirodha – The practice of ‘containment’ or ‘yoking.’ We do not deny or suppress our feelings, but neither do we vent or express them as a strategy to avoid or eliminate them. Rather, through a mindfulness/meditation practice, we learn to contain our reactivity. By not reacting, we actually learn how to simply feel.
Marga – Once our conditioned reactivity has been contained, we are free to choose how to creatively and skillfully respond to our experience. Our life becomes the path of awakening.
Some good ideas to meditate on.