Yes, so we can start talking about what is precious to us. What is the most precious thing we have to share? Our time, our space, our energy, our attention, right? Our values, all these things are the most precious things we have. There is nothing more precious than that.
How you relate to the people, the circumstances you encounter, how you relate to the environment, so that is, also, very important; and the way you relate is based on your perception; the way you perceive something. Based on that, you react one way or another; attraction, rejection or indifference. Through that reaction, we are creating the condition. So, in Sanskrit or Pali, it is called sankara, I am not sure. Sankara is Sanskrit? Sankara means the conditioning we are creating; we have been creating for many lifetimes; and even this lifetime is huge. Every moment, we are following this kind of conditioning. We are creating this conditioning, by reacting to what we perceive. The sensations come through the five senses. That is basically how we interact with reality, through the five senses. We do not understand very well that it is an interpretation, what we see, what we understand is only an interpretation. If you think about it, if there is nobody to perceive that reality, it does not have a color, or a form or a smell, there is nobody to perceive it, it is colorless.
So, only through us does it become what we perceive …obviously, every person perceives things in a different way. We are in a different place, a different evolution, or a different circumstance, I mean everything. I mean, in every aspect, we are different, because of our background, because of culture, where we were born, how we grew up, the experiences make us what we are today. Many times, of course, our perception is based on memory. If you took away our memory, we cannot even open the door. People, patients who have Alzheimer’s, it gets to a point where they do not know how to open the door because they do not have the memory. So, a lot of our perception is, also, based on memory. We make sense of our reality because we have a certain memory that helps us to relate to that, to put things in place. So, all these conditions are part of our understanding of what we are perceiving. The issue here, however, is not that we are perceiving something. It is how, number one, we cling to it; number two, how we believe in it completely, like we really truly believe what we are perceiving is exactly that, what there is. But it has absolutely nothing to do. Of course, there are lots of experiments, optical illusions that show how the brain tends to trick you in a way, just to make it easier for you to perceive.
In the first place, if you think about it, everything we see is upside down in the brain, right? The eyes see it upside down; the brain sees it upside down. Then, it turns it around for us to be able to (kind of) make sense of it; but that is happening automatically. We are not aware of that process. In the same way, we cannot control our heart-beating. Well, we think we cannot but there are meditators who can change their heart rates. It is possible. Well, most of us are not aware of what is going on inside of our body, let alone what is happening outside of our body.
So, we cannot really think what I see is what there is. Believe if it is so hard, that even our passions and our depressions and our worries are all based on that – these perceptions. If you think about it, if you really start to understand the reality of what really there is, then all these things, these emotions that move us from one place to another, like the wind moves the grass, all of that would disappear because you would be able to see. One of the names for that would be renunciation. But when you say in Tibetan, Nge jung, it has more meaning than just renunciation. That would be just one part of it. The other part would be to understand the reality to see the reality….so through that understanding, you are not so attached, you don’t get so clinging, the grasping; that which creates suffering basically.
Not only material grasping, but the formless grasping, also. That one is very important to be aware of. There are many aspects of that, the grasping for the sensations, the grasping for the state of mind, grasping for the adrenalin, grasping to be with someone, what do you call it? The endorphins, when you are in love, like the oxytocins, the dopamines, all these things.
That is grasping. That is formless grasping. So, we, also, must be aware of all these aspects. Attachment when we, that grasping is based on the fear of losing, wanting more. not living the moment, being unsatisfied. The only reason we are not satisfied is that we are not living the moment. If you were living the moment, we would be happy with what we have. Because we are grateful for what we have, so that is very important; gratitude is a very important key to the whole concept of a happy life. If you want a happy life, you start with gratitude. So, Dharma really helps us, one of the very important aspects of Dharma, practicing Dharma. Not just Dharma by itself, because Dharma by itself is just like a light bulb without the electricity. We are the electricity. We are the ones that give it its purpose.