Please click on the link below, to download your ‘journal pages’ to help you with your reflection. Please note that these are formatted to be opened in Microsoft Word; they can be filled in within the document itself.
In the fourth sadhana, we tried to draw our mind away from entertaining desires by practicing gratitude. When the heart is full, we do not dwell on what we do not have and are able to appreciate what is ours.
However, the mind may still be attracted to the world because it continues to perceive happiness in objects, situations and people. How can we develop the correct vision?
Identify and dwell on the flaws in worldly pleasures.
It is not enough to know that the world is impermanent; we must recognise that what we think of as our sources of joy will ultimately cause us to suffer, unless we develop right thinking. No worldly happiness or pleasure is free from flaws; in fact, our thinking that the world will give joy is the source of sorrow.
What are the flaws?
- Every worldly pleasure results in dullness of mind and senses, leaving the mind in a greater state of distraction.
- Objects are infinite; there will never be satisfaction in experiencing only one.
- The object of pleasure and experience are finite and will come to an end.
- Worldly pleasures enslave us and cause dependence.
- To experience the same happiness a second time is impossible; increased intensity is the demand.
We must not only recognise these flaws but also dwell on them so that our mind is not persuaded to seek out worldly pleasures again.
Impermanent objects, beings and situations can give only impermanent happiness. Impermanent happiness is not really happiness at all, because it leads to further bondage and suffering.
We are called upon to free ourselves from this bondage so that we can seek the source of ultimate bliss: our own Self.
Choose a pleasure that you have experienced or like to experience. Answer the following questions with that object/experience in mind:
- Did this pleasure come to an end and will the object of enjoyment come to an end?
- Did this pleasure leave my mind and senses feeling rejuvenated?
- Do I have a greater ability to focus after this experience?
- Has this pleasure made my mind free or it is occupying my attention after the experience?
- Will I be satisfied with an identical experience in future?
Try to think of any worldly pleasure which is free from all of the flaws named above.
Reflect upon those pleasures you are attracted to and recognise all the ways in which they have caused you agitation and sorrow.