We cannot change what appears now

An insincere inclination inhibits the development of satiptthana. Right
understanding can know whether we are sincere or not, whether there is
development in the right way or not. Do we take our intellectual
understanding for direct knowledge of realities and do we believe that there
is nothing more to be developed? This will hinder the right practice of the
eightfold Path. There are many misconceptions which can hinder its
development. Do we have certain fixed ideas about sati, ideas of what it
should be like? Do we, without noticing it, confuse sati with an idea of calm
and peace? Some people find sati “a very special experience”, but then
there is clinging. Sati is only a reality, not something special, and we should
not hold on to it. Are we sure about the characteristic of sati or are we
merely thinking of a concept of sati? In the beginning there cannot be clear
understanding of any reality, and thus, when we think that we know sati as it
is we may mislead ourselves. When we are too preoccupied with what sati is
like, we forget to be aware of all realities that are appearing already, such
as seeing, sound or hearing.
We may have prejudices against particular objects and we may not like to
be aware of them. Someone thought that when she was practising
satipatthana she should not recognize her parents or friends, or look at her
watch, since she was then thinking of concepts. Are we doing the same, do
we want to avoid thinking of concepts? We were walking around the great
Stupa of Anuradhapura, the “Ruvanvelisaya”, and then there was thunder.
The rainy season had begun. I was paying attention to the sound of thunder
and thinking of a concept. I tried to experience just sound, but the concept
of thunder seemed to come up immediately. What was really happening? I
was thinking of a concept and trying to avoid thinking of it, because I wanted
to know just sound. We should not resist being aware of the reality
that appears. When we think of thunder it does not matter; the thinking can
be studied in order to know it as only a reality that is conditioned. At another
time, when we do not try to focus on sound, sound may appear and then it
can be known as only a reality that arises because of the appropriate
conditions. There is no self who can cause the arising of any reality and we
can verify this in daily life. We should not try to live only in the world of
ultimate truth because then there is clinging again. We cannot change
what appears now.

Topic 234