Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Couch, Where Does It Come From?

Amazing, how quickly a sense of ownership develops . . .

During the retreat, I became fond of the blue couch, way in the back by the fireplace. I became used to turning on the side lamp right after breakfast. A cup of tea right at hand, armed with pen and notebook, I savored those times of mini-retreat within the retreat.

And I started to notice the angst rising each time I readied to move toward the blue couch. I had reasons, I had been disappointed a few times before. Someone had gone ahead of me and planted themselves right in my spot, or close enough that it did not feel so private anymore.

'I' had become very attached to 'my' space . . .

How does 'mine' develop? Going back to Leigh's talk on dependent origination:

Starting with the senses, in this case touch, sight, hearing.
Then contact with the whole couch experience, the softness of the couch, the dim light, the quietness.
Bringing up pleasant vedana.
Leading to craving for more of the same.
Then clinging to the pleasurable sense object, the couch.
Giving rise to sense of ownership, becoming the owner of the couch.
Then manifesting into declaration of this is 'my' couch, and the birth of identity as couch owner, 'I' own this couch.
This in turn paving the way for the inevitable death of that identity, once other person comes along to dispel assumed reality of 'mine'.
Leading to dukkha, suffering from not getting what I want and not being able to sustain assumed identity of 'I', the owner of this spot, on the blue couch. 

Craving, not self, dukkha, it's all connected, and we can do something about it. The trick is to be mindful, and know what to see when it happens. 

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