During the talk there was a question that asked about not being able to get good meditation when under stress. It brought out a really important point, and I think it’s worth some elaboration, as it may be of benefit to others with similar issues
The person asked about a situation where they are under a lot of stress and finding it difficult to access peaceful mind states in meditation. Ajahn Brahmali replied that this is natural, under those conditions, and not to set unrealistic expectations as this can lead to disappointment.
I think a lot of people can relate to this situation, especially at the moment, and so it is worth teasing out a little further. Ajahn @Brahmali please correct or add to it if needed
It is good to realise that meditation progress relies on conditions. When on the path, all 8 factors play a part in this, and it is the interplay between these factors and external conditions that either facilitate or hinder the generation of positive and peaceful mind states and enable immersion and absorption to occur. Understanding the conditionality is important here. When stressful external conditions get in the way, it is a wonderful demonstration of causality. When this happens, it is good to attribute the effects experienced, to the correct causes - this can feed directly into further practice, in knowing what situations give rise to what mind states. As such, it can be used as a learning process and demonstration of cause and effect, rather than internalising feelings of failing to live up to ones own expectations of meditation practice etc. As soon as one realises that it is not ‘personal’ then relief follows
No need to make extra dukkha