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training wheels for the 2nd noble truth (8:18)

Updated: Sep 26, 2021

The Buddha's first two noble truths are that suffering is a feature of life, and that the root of suffering is dukkha, typically translated as craving, wanting, dissatisfaction.

When I consider the 2nd noble truth, I feel daunted - it feels unrealistic to not want/crave at all. In this video I propose a softer framing, perhaps akin to training wheels for the 2nd noble truth: even if we want/crave, we can reduce our suffering by not getting so hung up on our wanting/craving. In other words, don't see the arising of wanting as a problem - recognize wanting as an arising among others, and just like the others, learn to let it go. Learn to recognize that our wanting isn't particularly special or unspecial, important or unimportant. It arises and goes, like a bird crossing your field of vision, a flower's smell briefly filling your nostrils. We routinely let those go. But our bodies have evolved to fixate on / obsess over our wantings - to pursue what we want (infatuation), to avoid what we don't want (aversion), and to lose ourselves in all kinds of vanity & guilt games about why we want what we want, how we should manage our wanting, what our wanting patterns say about us, etc. (ignorance). If we can train our minds to see our wantings as just another feature in our mental landscape, no more or less worthy of our attention than anything else, we can progress toward a state of flow with what is, instead of latching onto the jutting rocks of wanting and tuning out the rest of the river.

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