Excerpts from a talk by Ajahn Sucitto at the Insight Meditation Society, April 5, 1990.
Welcoming another day. A joyous attitude is one of welcoming whatever is, the way it is. The perception that there’s something to have or something to become gets us into a real pick-and-choose mentality, where one can oscillate between wanting physical sensory things and wanting to know more, wanting to develop more, wanting to get on with it, to progress. These desires are often a real hindrance for meditators. We want more insights, more peace, more understanding—we feel we need something that we don’t already have. Therefore we sit and practice in order to become something that we’re not right now. But the way the mind is now conditions what you’ll experience in the future. If the mind is left in that attitude of needing and wanting and trying to become something, then all you’ll ever experience in the future is your need and desire to become something else.
This doesn’t mean you just sit here forever until you die, either. It’s just that you’re attempting to shift your attitude toward life. Then things change naturally and mature at their own rate. You try to detach from the blind impulses. In this way you set up the conditions for cooling, for stilling. Not for gaining stillness, but for stilling that frenzy to gain, and that nervousness, that agitation, that anxiety and feeling that you lack something.
The welcoming attitude is also good when the mind gets resistant. We don’t want to have to put up with things. “This is a problem, a nuisance—go away—this is getting in the way of my practice.” The number of things that can get in the way of one’s practice are vast. So we develop that state of welcoming mind, opening to the way it is. It’s like this, isn’t it? Then your practice moves around the way it is, rather than trying to change the way it is to fit your ideas about practice. It’s the same as trying to change the way it is to fit your perceptions about life or perceptions of who you are.