A. Here is a classic example of the ceaseless mental dialogue and conflict that we seem to find ourselves in. Our embattled mind split down the middle, engaging in this ceaseless dualistic dialogue and conflict. And despite our awareness of it and the obvious experience of dukkha that it brings there seems precious little we can do about it. It stems from an ingrained mental habit born of the non-understanding of reality; in other words, we are trapped in a dualistic world that is created by our own ignorance. We create a world of opposites not just on the outside but on the inside as well. This dualistic world, at play with itself, is where the phenomenon of a self arises. With the inclusion of the self it then becomes a game of self-defence, self-promotion and justification – the self is always reaffirming itself, as its basic characteristic is one of insecurity and fear. How it reaffirms itself is of no consequence to the self, as feeling alive is all that matters to it. So, for example, hypocrisy, and the obvious conflict that comes from that, is a good platform for its survival. How we deal with this very basis of suffering is what complete Dharma practice is about.

The reason we see the problem but we can’t do anything about it is because it is a powerful ingrained habit cultivated possibly over many lifetimes. So, rather than try to cure our problems by endless mental investigation, we undertake this practice to focus on the life-force and emotion that gives these experiences life and momentum in the first place. This focus brings the practice almost exclusively into the body, as it is here that the life-force and emotions are. If we practice correctly, that habitual emotional volition (grounded in the sense of ‘me’) transforms, returning to its original nature. Our mental habits and attachments die as a consequence, and we return to the peace and spaciousness of an unfettered mind.