This month we are exploring the 6th link in the cycle of dependent origination – Contact. Contact in it’s simplest form is the connection between a sense door and an object. Practice is often looked at in terms of bare awareness but often this type of practice can seem pretty abstract. It’s hard to see the value and wisdom of just knowing one is hearing, or smelling or seeing, etc. It may be relaxing but doesn’t seem to hold much wisdom.
We experience billions of sensory contacts throughout the day. It makes sense that we don’t have a lot of interest in bare awareness at the sense door. I mean what does that have to do with Covid19 or our current social unrest. The answer – plenty. It may make more sense if you recognized that contact is another way if saying “personalization”.
Contact is the first step in personalizing our world. It’s about what we give prominence and what we ignore. In fact, I believe contact is the first opportunity to actually see and experience practice. We can see whether we are living out of greed, hatred and delusion or whether we are living out of mindfulness and clear comprehension. Whenever we are living out of G,H&D, we are just trying to get our wants and don’t wants. We don’t really see anything else.
Learning to see our wants and don’t wants is the beginning of freedom. As we pay attention to our actions we can also see what is pushing us; our assumptions, beliefs, expectations – basically G,H&D. Living out of G,H&D means we are also trapped in the hindrances because G,H&D feed the hindrances and the hindrances feeds ignorance, which feeds the whole chain of dependent origination.
This all starts with contact – our personalization of the moment, our experience or the situation. This has everything to do with how we live in a world that includes Covid19 and social unrest. We embrace it and do what we can to make the world a better place or we push against it in an effort to fit the world into our assumptions, beliefs and/or expectations.
Contact is about practicing wise attention vs unwise attention. Wise attention prevails with restraint, mindfulness, clear comprehension and faith. Unwise attention prevails when there is a lack of restraint, lack of mindfulness, lack of clear comprehension and a lack of faith. Paying attention to how we personalize our day to day life is our first step.