Delight in structure and order, suffering due to disposition

It is a natural tendency of the mind, certainly my mind, that it takes delight in well structured things, for example well structured ideas, thoughtsystems, well structured fridge, well organised life, well organised daytime etc. It delights in having everything nicely in order. Physically and also mentally. There is a fondness for order, well structured or organised. That it experiences as ‘good’, and ‘happiness’.

I think this is also a kind of symptomatic for the grasping mind. Seeking safety and feeling good in structure, in order. This mind only calms down when everything is nicely organised, also Dhamma knowledge. But i do not think that this is real calm and also not real clarity.

It is very hard to deal with this tendency when one, like me, is of this disposition and fondness for order. Happily i can also delight in a bit of chaos. I have a friend who cannot relax a moment in having not a to do list. His need for a goal, for structure, for order, totally rules his life.

Is it not strange the mind has such a hard time just to relax in not having a to do list? Like it needs a carrot for the noose all the time. A need for a goal.

For the mind who is fond of structure and order it is hard to let go. It is also very hard for this mind not processing things, not digesting info, not utilizing info. It is always taking in and digesting info.

It is not that it happens all very intentionally. But it is tiresome and costs a lot of energy and often sleep too because the mind is always digesting and organising and controlling if everything is allright (i.e. in order)

Somehow we have to find a way that we do not take all in without blocking senses. What we do not take in, we also do not have to digest again and again. And i also believe we have to tackle this need for structure, for organizing again and again, this fondness for order.

Dhamma helps.


That “way” for each of us will probably be different, but there’s a sutta I like that addresses it for me.

You may already know of it, but if you don’t, I’ve included a link and a couple of quotes below.

It’s called “The Adze”, or “The Ship” but the real heroine is the chicken.

It contains this wonderful line: "Suppose there was a chicken… "

This sutta reflects my experience of, over time, many years of daily practice with a little study mixed in, the “hooks” generated by the multitudes of signs moving through my awareness gain less and less purchase in my heart and mind. The juice just isn’t there like it was. It’s not a conscious response, the urgency around becoming lessens. Tangles are there, but not as tight, and my capacity to work them free is more accessible that before.

Certainly those tangles haven’t gone, and probably will never leave, until of course they finally do, but there has been a shift, and it manifests first in my body, then in my heart and mind. But for me, it took time and sustained practice.

In the sutta, after the paragraphs which focus on the chicken, and comparing a chicken’s skill and results to that of a mendicant (I think maybe he’s making a point.) there is a description of the adze handle and the ship.

Adze handle and ship parts…

Suppose a carpenter or their apprentice sees the marks of his fingers and thumb on the handle of his adze. They don’t know how much of the handle was worn away today, how much yesterday, and how much previously. They just know what has been worn away.

In the same way, when a mendicant is committed to development, they don’t know how much of the defilements were worn away today, how much yesterday, and how much previously. They just know what has been worn away. Suppose there was a sea-faring ship bound together with ropes. For six months they deteriorated in the water. Then in the cold season it was hauled up on dry land, where the ropes were weathered by wind and sun. When the clouds soaked it with rain, the ropes would readily collapse and rot away. In the same way, when a mendicant is committed to development their fetters readily collapse and rot away.”

Be well. :pray: :blush:

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Thats great @Scott_V . I am also convinced of the need to practise and development. It takes effort, strangely enough also to relax the body and mind, to let go, to become less obsessed, less goal and result oriented.

I read a very nice simile. It goes like this: if you have been used to make a fist for many many years, day in day out tension in your hand, making a fist, it is impossibe just to relax your hand at once, because the system has become fist-like, as it were. It needs practice, effort, development to relax the hand. The same with body and mind.

I have made steps too. Thank you for sharing.

Those sutta similes of the chicken, and the adze…these are great.

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It’s a particularly difficult aspect of existence. What is random? What is causal?

I’ve accepted that I should view external reality as ultimately random.

However, my internal input - anything from my ears, body, tongue, eyes, nose , and spatial awareness is especially “causal” to my experience of reality.

In that sense, I do not get bogged down by any random occurrence. In fact there’s a great deal of relief when, for example - you are at a stop light beside a Mustang revving its engine …

What is going on?
That engine noise … is that aggression?
Does this man beside me challenge me?

No. Let it ALL go. That is the sound of an engine. That is NOTHING to me. I will go one preserving my peace in the face of bare perceptions.

But, do perceptions really affect me? Certainly. How? Is the question. And what I can do about that to extend my well being and advantage in the world is my main preoccupation.

Order is an illusion, outside the order of the body.

And discerning “causal” from”incidental” is the key to happiness and letting go.

Google: Unrelenting Standards Schema

Thank you.

I think Buddha said very wise things about this. I feel he teaches that we do not decide which meanings sense-objects get. The system, as it were, decides. How it decides has grown over endless lifes and ofcourse also in this life changes are made.

I believe it is true that sense-objects trigger all time latent tendencies (anusaya), habitual forces. This is just a process, conditioned, and is not instigated by a self or ego or I. If you throw a stone in water, the water does not decide to create waves.

But if a conscious sense of self (me, mine, my self) arises regarding those tendencies then they grow, are fed. So, i believe the I and mine-making works like a catalyst. It does not cause reactions, it intensifies them. It feeds them.

Thats why i also belief that seeing small, big, wise, stupid, loving self (or ego) in someone is not a right vision. There are no such things in anybody, i believe.

In the texts it is said that there is no self, but also that nothing is a possession of a self. One can also not possess wisdom, love, compassion.

I believe that in a practical sense one of the most important conditions to be affected is that one takes everything to serious. Much people find a way to deal with it. With humor, with indifference, with a certain attitude. But some are not satisfied or seem to be not able to deal with it in this manner because those attitutes are felt as fake, unreal, not truthful, not a sincere and wise way to deal with things.

I feel the wisdom of emptiness is of great help. I feel that is truthful.

I recognise what @kumara refers to. I never ever heard of that before.
But i feel that there is often a tendency to proof oneself as being a good person. There seems to be a deep sense of being wrong. It is like one cannot life with oneself if one has nothing to proof that one does or has done good things. Doing good is like prooving one is good. I have seen this is really happening.

In this context, can we say that even doing good can be not good, because can confirm the sense of being wrong. Or doing good hides the fact that one does good because one has a sense of being wrong?

In this case, google: Defectiveness Schema.

The Unrelenting Standards Schema is probably your way to cope with the Defectiveness Schema, by overcompensating it.

Don’t you think we all have such schemes? It is said that Tibetan teachers for the first time in the West, were very suprised to meet all the time people with such defectiveness schemes.

What I’ve come to see is that people in difference cultures have a different degree of likelihood in having certain schemas. While Tibetans have little likelihood of having the Defectiveness Schema, many of them probably have the Subjugation Schema, which is common among Asians due to their tendency for authoritarian parenting style.

It’s not a question of whether we have such schemas, but what kind of schemas we have and at what degree they affect us.

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I agree. Maybe we can see that any scheme is not self, not me, not mine, not my self. It is just a pattern, a tendency arising. Or maybe we need some other treatment when they are strong.

I have read that Tibetan teachers meeting people in the West for the first time, were surprised to see all the time this defectiveness scheme in the mind of them.

Rinpoches were alarmed by this because many people saw the teachings as a means to, finally, become the perfect human being, finally the perfect soul, a perfect mind, not very different from having a perfect body.

Of course. That’s right view. We won’t be able to observe something objectively if we view it as ‘me’ or ‘mine’, much less let go of it.

I’ve read about that too. In fact, I was like that.