Here is the point to the discussion which I intentionally didn’t answer on Saturday. It is in response to the question:
“What is the point of meditation if everything isn’t going to work out and we are still going to get old, get sick and die?”
Here is the answer:
“To find a dependable happiness and well-being that isn’t subject to the circumstances of our lives – a happiness that does not depend on pleasure or getting rid of displeasure.”
We do this by creating a place to stand, and then looking closely at our relationship to pleasant and unpleasant experience. As we become more skilled at this we begin to see that any happiness or sense of well-being that we derive from experiencing pleasure, or from getting rid of what is unpleasant, is temporary at best. It doesn’t last. It is impermanent. Inconstant. Yet the mind keeps looking for happiness in that which is insecure – subject to change.
As we begin to see that this strategy of looking for happiness in what is inconstant does not work, the mind slowly begins to lose its taste for it. It begins to know a much more dependable kind of happiness and well-being by staying right here with the breath in the present moment. We become more and more skillful at eliminating the true causes of stress and unhappiness and cultivating the causes of happiness and well-being. This is how we find a happiness that transcends aging, sickness and death and the need for everything to “work out.”