Buddhism and Meditation

Worldly Winds – part V

Yesterday the MK Meditation Association met to mediate and have our final discussion on the 8 Worldly Winds.

Here is the material that we discussed:

Previously we have identified the 8 Worldly Winds:


1/2 Praise & Blame

3/4 Pleasure & Pain

5/6 Success & Failure

7/8 Fame & Infamy


We have reflected on our experience of these in our lives, how they occur and to what extent they affect us – how they condition our emotions and the ways we behave.


In this section we have been Learning how to Sail the Worldly winds: how to be less buffeted about. There are 4 stages in this practice:


  • Recognising the Worldly Winds
  • Distinguishing Control from Influence
  • Seeing the Worldly Winds as Opportunities
  • Listening to the Stories we tell


This week we will consider the fourth of these: Listening to the Stories We Tell


a/ The Mature & the Immature


The Buddha pointed out that we all get blown about by the Worldly Winds.


  • The “spiritually immature” would be most affected – their minds consumed by praise, blame, success pain etc. The welcome the wind in one direction, but rebel when it blows the other way.


  • The “well trained” disciple does not become consumed, does not welcome or rebel.


  • Often our “rebelling & welcoming” consists of “a story”


b/ Listening to the Stories we tell


  • An ongoing commentary in our head


  • We explain and interpret our day in this way – often subconsciously


  • Stronger emotions give rise to the most urgent stories – replays of disagreements – clever responses – replayed again and again


c/ Triggers & Interpretations


  • A tiny thing can trigger a story – a single word we do not like, a look or gesture


  • Stories come into play extremely quickly – almost pre-formed. How?


  • We draw on our past  – how we have previously interpreted our experience


  • Perhaps we have had difficulty with a person before – or someone who reminds us of this person – our previous explanations come readily to mind


d/ Culture


  • Our interpretations may not just be personal – they may be imbedded in our culture – difficult to see as we “are in it”.


  • Collective stories – that fit seem to fit the case – so they ‘are’ what happened


e/ Karma


  • Stories from the past colour the present moment


  • Stories about the present colour the present moment


  • Stories about the present colour our future experience


  • Our stories have a profound effect on how we perceive the world and how we act – we condition ourselves


  • What we think of as “me” is the sum of all our stories


f/ Papanca – mental proliferation


  • How our stories grow and spread – often highly subjective – sometimes just wrong


  • Triggered by fear, ill-will, longing, craving and so on – those triggered by craving etc. can be harder to spot than those triggered by negative emotions


g/ Working with Stories


  • When we realise we are in a story – put the breaks on – this may not be easy


  • Stay with what’s happening – the actual experience underlying the story


  • Stay with the facts – identify the embellishments


  • Try to remember what happened and acknowledge the feelings


  • Separate Observation from Interpretation. We still need to act and make decisions, but try to do this based in objectivity not coming from storied based in ill-will or craving.


h/ Reflection


During meditation and daily life, get used to watching your thoughts. Identify your stories, try to find where they start, test them for objectivity.