As I sit quietly focused upon the in and out flow of the breath, my attention shifts to the sounds of children playing. I acknowledge the sounds and gently return to the breath. Then I find my attention has been drawn to a tightness between my shoulder blades. I note the physical sensation and return to the flow of the breath. I awaken inside a memory. I label this “remembering” and return to the breath. I find myself adjusting the monthly budget. I internally say, “worrying” and with acceptance return to the breath. Within the space where thoughts settle before arising again, I encounter what I identify as a fleeting moment of clarity. Then I come to an awareness that I have embarked upon yet another stream of consciousness, I label the moment, “thinking, thinking”, and return to the breath. For a passing second, I touch upon an idea of single-pointed tranquil absorption. It fades. I again return to the in-and-out flow of the breath. My vision clears and I comprehend a path free of attachment, aversion, and closed heartedness and mindedness.
Rapture surprises me, and as it fades my mind undertakes a search to identify what were the preceding thoughts, images, techniques, and conditions that came together in such a manner that opened the door to this wonderful feeling. Desire intensifies into greed, which transforms into craving which stirs clinging. A greedy nature awakens an angry nature.
The still center of being . . . whispers, “Realize Me.”
No sooner is it glimpsed then it is gone. ~ Guigo
Once upon a time, a scorpion asked a frog to ferry him across a river. The frog replied that his fear of being stung by the scorpion prevented him from granting the request. The scorpion, in reply, eased the frog’s anxieties with the notation that if he were to sting him then both of them would surely drown. With this seemingly safe guarantee, the frog agreed. About half way in their crossing, the scorpion stung the frog. As the frog was dying, he implored the scorpion to tell him why he doomed both of them to their deaths. The scorpion simply noted, “I’m a scorpion; it’s my nature.”
It is my understanding that Buddhist psychology notes that our mental formations shape how we view the world; they give us a frame of reference and eventually through their repetitive appearance they formulate our intrinsic nature, our temperament. It is suggested that these habitual patterns that are ephemeral but are kammically potent can be classified into seven major categories: greed, hate, ignorance, faithful, intelligent, ruminating, and speculative. The combination of these natures (with the exception of speculative) with one another formulates 63 different nature types. The speculative type brings the total to 64 temperaments.
The majority of people will find that their temperaments include the variables of greed and hatred. There are others whose nature is ignorance and thus confusion and delusional thinking impact their lives. Akin to this nature are those whose minds oscillate; they are unable to focus their attention deliberately on one thing. Some people are exceptionally devoted, while others are exceptionally intelligent. Our personalities generally consist of a combination of 2 to 3 of these 64 types. We can begin to acquaint ourselves with our primary nature through an exploration of our usual day-to-day behavior patterns, thoughts, and moods as well as labeling the thoughts that arise during meditation.
The mountain lake is fed
not only by the outside rains,
from within its own depths. ~ Nyanaponika Thera