There is one thing that has been confusing me lately in my practice and this is to do with the arising of unwholesome states and not really being skillful enough to abandon these states as soon as they arise. I feel huge and enormous amounts of love and gratitude towards my parents but sometimes there are conversations with my dad that lead to the arising of these unwholesome states of mind. My response to this has been to retract from conversation and to avoid talking to my dad about subjects that might cause the arising of these states. However, I feel that this is in a way hurtful to him and does not properly express my love and gratitude as I would wish to do in every single moment of existence. So the conundrum is whether to engage in a conversation with him or; essentially, whether to ignore him or not. The answer seems clear: do not ignore him because this is clearly hurtful and I do not wish to be hurtful to any single sentient being, let alone my dad. Perhaps the solution lies in making a strong and determined effort at being mindful and totally present during the course of the conversation and not allowing my ego to creep in because this is surely the source of all the unwholesome states that arise. I know this fact and I am certain of it because I can see, or sense, the tremendous and titanic power behind the conditioning that habitually leads me into an ego-conflict or ego-rivalry with my dad. This is a theme that has been a long, long time in the making, and its unmaking cannot be expected to be instant. The energy supporting the continuation of this habitual rivalry is quite intense and this is the reason why virtually every conversation turns into a festering pool of ill will and hurtful expressions. Nevertheless, the solution is not in ignoring and abstaining from interacting with my dad, for this will surely reap bad karma as it too is an act of hurtfulness, whether intentional or not. I must take responsibility for the karma that I own. My destiny is my own, and the karma I sow now shall yield for me the future that I deserve. This is why I believe the most sensible way to confront this situation is to resolve firmly and willfully to maintain my mindfulness during these conversations and to attempt to see through to the delusion and ignorance at the core of the unwholesome states at the very same moment that they are arising so that they can be naturally and instantly dissipated back into nothingness. This of course requires the maintenance of my mindfulness during the day and this is not exactly an easy task. In fact, this has been the center-piece of my spiritual practice since it started almost one year ago, and I still find it difficult to maintain my mindfulness. There are too many distractions and too many defilements. But I can only be grateful now that I have disentangled my mind a little bit and resolved I tiny bit of the confusion surrounding a very stressful and difficult area of my life, namely my interactions with my parents. Now I can see that the causes for the problems there are the same as the causes for the problems anywhere else in my life: a lack of mindfulness and a distracted and unfocused mind. The answer to my problem rings out to me through the ages and the millennia that have passed as though I had asked my question to the Buddha himself, to receive the response:

“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”
– Buddha

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