Rodney Smith, from the third talk, “The Practice of Selfnessness,” from his ongoing Tricycle Retreat,
Wise View is a restatement of what life is. We say, “Life is more connected than it appears or has appeared to me in the past.” This new view holds a sense on interconnectedness as its base.
When things are connected, our options are limited. When things aren’t connected you can do whatever you want to objects. You can turn away from them, you can own them, you can repel them, you can avoid them, you can resist them, you can do whatever. You can have a whole strategy that’s based on the subject in relation to the object. But when we see things are interconnected it changes our strategies. I can’t avoid something and interconnect with it. I can’t repel, obstruct, deny, or defend myself from something and still be interconnected with it. What I can do is open myself up to it, quietly and silently, so I have no resistance to it. The truth of interconnection begins to reveal itself within this new alignment.
Let me give an example of how Wise View works when dealing with a difficult emotion. If you are feeling angry, fearful, or impatient, usually you would turn away from whatever or whomever made you feel this way. You cut off. You create a gap of space. Wise View asks us to connect first with the emotional state that is arising—the anger, the impatience, the avoidance. You take that energy into your system so that you are accountable to it, not blaming, not pointing fingers. You are being totally accountable for the energy that is there. You don’t blame yourself, this also is not useful. Blaming yourself is the same as blaming someone else, just pointing the finger the other direction. You just allow the energy to be there, which keeps us straightly on the path of connectedness.
As I go through these applications of the principle of selflessness, most of what we are doing is learning how to release resistance to experience. It is the resistance that creates the dichotomy, distance, and separation. When you release resistance you are brought to interconnection.
To take part in this retreat, please become a Tricycle Community Supporting or Sustaining Member.
Also, when you become a Tricycle Community Member, you can join a Special Community Discussion with Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison, the founders and co-executive directors of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.
Image via Flickr
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.