There Is No Suffering 103

Sometimes, when our mind is at ease and life is going smoothly, or after restful sleep, we suddenly experience a letting go of our clinging to ourselves. These times are short-lived however, and obstructions soon return. Most of us are aware of our coarse afflictions but we also have subtle afflictions of which we are not always aware. Anything and everything can be obstruction and cause vexations to arise in our minds. One I am sure everyone is familiar with is getting caught in traffic when you have a pressing engagement. And things that normally do not cause afflictions may do so if you are already obstructed by something else. When the mind is frustrated, everything is unpleasant. For instance, the same enthusiastic child may be a joy if your time is free, or a nuisance if you are tired or preoccupied.

One purpose of practice is to help one become more and more aware of mental obstructions and how they affect our thoughts, speech, and action. In maintaining such awareness, obstructions will naturally and gradually lessen. Ultimately, we face obstructions because we fail to recognize the emptiness of the four noble truths, the five skandhas, and the twelve links of conditioned arising. Of course, if we truly understood this, we would already be enlightened and there would be no need for contemplation. Until then, we need to contemplate how the mind reacts to obstructions.