Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 05/21/2018


I was fortunate to be able to do a two meditation retreat this weekend and, thankfully, during that time was not allowed to access my phone. What that means is that I couldn’t post here but it also meant that I was able to put some space between myself and the never ending onslaught of media.

Naturally, there’s always the temptation to “bring something back” from a retreat. I don’t know if it is simply to prove that it was time well spent or to bolster an ego in need of approbation. Nonetheless, this weekend as a result of the Dhamma talks given by Ajahn Suddhaso and conversations with the same I gained a deeper appreciation for upekkha in practice and in a wider sense.

In terms of practice, he suggested that when we encounter painful or unpleasant feelings in the body (I suppose in the mind as well) we take a real interest in them. Looking at them clearly we also invite them to stay for as long as they wish. In other words tell the sensation “you’re welcome to stay here for as long as this body lasts” and mean it. As simple as it sounds it was revolutionary for me. I was able to see anicca in action and to deepen my concentration considerably.

Related to this are issues of social justice. Although I still believe in trying to help where I can and sharing news of injustice I need to take a more equanimous attitude. Societal change is largely out of my control and shaming people into non-harm is never going to work. What that means to me is that I need to look more carefully at my intention in sharing these things and need to spend some time thinking about my motives before posting. As Bhante said, injustice has been occurring since time immemorial so what good is it to be righteously indignant? How will being angry, aversion and confrontational resolve the problems? It won’t. If anything it will add fuel to the fire. For my own good I need to douse those flames.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.