Hindrances to Meditation: ill-will
"Then how do we let go of hostility and ill-will?... Avero homi,
abyapajjho homi: ill-will, malevolence, vengefulness, resentment,
bitterness - all of these things that cause us misery? Often we don't
even see that they're causing us suffering. People can spend hours
feeling resentful about being slighted or ignored or hurt by somebody
else. Sometimes it can go on even longer - days, weeks, months,
years! Sometimes, our grumbling can bring a kind of gratification, a
feeling of righteousness - of being right, and someone else or the
situation being wrong - but is that really happiness? Is that really
well-being? When I look into my own heart, I see that, 'No, it's not.
It's not really what I want. It's not really how I want to live my
"This is very important. Sometimes we're not even aware of our mental
habits. Particularly, I've found, I can be quite unaware of how I
relate to myself - the sense of criticism, judgement, ill-will that I
can bear towards this being here. I've noticed that there is a
tendency to judge and undermine myself when I make a mistake. It's
like having a rather mean parrot sitting on my shoulder,
whispering: 'You're no good. You could have done that better. Why did
you do that?... Why did you say that?... She's much better than you;
you should be like her - but you couldn't be, you're hopeless...'
Probably each of you has a slightly different voice inside - your's
might be saying it in German, French, Japanese or Chinese. Whatever
language it is, it's still the same message. It still burrows away
into any sense of well-being, blessedness, or happiness.
"I remember one time at Chithurst I was having a retreat, and I was
going through the pattern 'You're no good. You should be able to
meditate better. You'll never be any good... all these years you've
been practising, and still you can't concentrate. Your mind's all
over the place. You're lazy!' - all that stuff. I remember just
contemplating this mild misery. It was just before the meal-time. I
was standing by the back door, feeling mildly miserable, and I began
to reflect on one of the qualities of the Buddha: 'bhagava', which
means 'blessed one', and I was thinking about what being blessed was:
a feeling of fullness, of happiness - and thinking: 'Well, you're not
feeling very full and happy, are you?...'
"I saw that this rather pathetic, miserable, empty feeling was
completely the opposite of feeling blessed. I began to see what I was
doing to myself. There was no-one else doing it to me - it was
something that was coming from my own mind, and I realised it was
there quite a lot of the time. I saw at that point that I had a
choice. I could actually choose whether to continue to live with this
mild misery, or to consciously generate a sense of well-being, or
blessedness, that was free from this negativity. I thought, 'Well,
that's not how I relate to other people. If someone comes to me, and
tells me that their meditation is no good, or that they don't feel
worthy I don't say to them: 'Well, that's true. You're not really
very good, are you?...' Usually, I say to them: 'That's all right.
Don't worry. You're doing the best you can. Keep on trying.
Contemplate the goodness of your life, and realise that actually
you're doing very well - look at how most people are living.' I talk
to people in positive encouraging ways. I realised that I can do that
to myself as well, rather than being so mean and critical and nasty.
So we can learn how to relate to ourselves in more loving and
positive ways. Rather than waiting for someone else to come along and
encourage us. We can do this for ourselves."
~ Ajahn Candasiri, "Reflecting on Kindness," Forest Sangha Newsletter
#57, July 2001.
The entire article can be read at:http://www.fsnewsletter.net/57/57.htm
May this be of benefit.