Starting Where You Are [Audio]

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About Phillip Moffitt:

Phillip Moffitt is co-guiding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the founder of the Life Balance Institute. He teaches vipassana meditation and is the author of Dancing with Life, a book exploring the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths. More information can be found at: He is currently writing a book on skillful living.


You may have noticed tonight that the stars are out, the skies are temporarily cleared, and the stars are out, but is the sky a different sky, because there are no clouds and the stars are visible? Or is it not this continuation of the ever changing nature of the sky? And so it is with our own minds as we’ll see tonight, ___ nature of everything. So when in our practice, sometimes, it’s cloudy, sometimes it’s rainy and very cold or too hot. And other times, it’s a clear night when the stars are out. It’s understandable that we have preference, but to mistake our preference for the superior state, might be worth for some consideration.

Last night, Anushka introduced us to the fourth foundation or the fourth establishment and talked about the sixth and how we related to the six sense ___.

So, tonight, I’m going to be looking at the five aggregates, which is another part of the fourth establishment, the fourth foundation of mindfulness. As a reminder, as we begin this process, couple of things, one- the invitation to stay embodied, two- stay in the body such that you feel anything that is stored in you. It ___ in the body to stay embodied so that the intuition can be present. When we’re up in our heads, harder for the intuition to arise and likewise for the heart qualities. Anything that is recognized for the heart quality, if we embodied, it resonates it. It has a stronger flow to insight just like with the intuition. So to stay embodied is the best one.

And then the second is this reminder that I’ve already done a couple of times, which is that we are cultivating mindfulness as a means to access the experience so that we can see the cause of suffering and the end of suffering. Justice, the Buddha said, that was his one thing that he thought. There are other perspectives. Many other perspectives. Caring perspectives, Philosophical perspectives in the nature of learning, and all of these other kinds of perspectives including a lot of speculation. But that’s not what the Buddha is teaching us. It’s this immediacy of the cause of suffering and the means to the end of suffering. This path to the end of suffering and its developing of ___, the empowerment that we can choose the suffering that lives to the end of suffering, that we can choose to stay on the path, just in that poem, that to stay before you leave.

And in that regard, I came across in my ___ materialist I haven’t labeled, Buddha wrote material as I have it labeled. Buddha ___ material. This cartoon that I actually forgotten that I had, and it’s a cartoon of two dogs sitting down there on meditation mats, and there’s a little incense burning in front and there’s some candles lit to the side, and they have carefully placed their dove chains right there in front of them, very neatly. They’re sitting cross legged. And one is saying to the other, “The key to meditation is learning to stay.” So, who knew that we’ve been teaching the dogs in our culture the thing that we most need to learn ourselves- stay before we leave, to stay what, to stay present, to stay connected to intention, to stay available for the Dharma to the rest. The key to meditation is learning to stay.

As I share my own experience with the ____ to acknowledge the teachers from which I have learned ___ now, and also to remind us always when we teach, we teach from our experience. And there’s a limitation to that, because of the amount of ___ present in our experience must ___ and there’s also this great advantage, because since it’s our own experience, we actually are speaking about something we know something about, because we’ve experienced that it has this kind of authenticity that can be available to us, but there’s also a limitation to that as I’ve said.

Just being the fourth of the four foundations to reflect for a moment on the first three- of body, of ___ feeling, and of mind states, and we can understand in the context of the fourth foundation, that these first three name experience for us. We have body experience, and we have mind state experience, which includes emotions, and the thinking mind, which we’ve not covered too much as of yet, but we have this body experience, and we have the experience of the mind. And each of those are flavored by this ___, which we’ll learn more about tonight. So that’s our experience. That’s our spectrum as the Buddha laid it out. There are other ways that we can lay out experience, but that’s the way Buddha laid it out. And as we see, as we look at the architecture of the ___, how beautiful it is, how simple in some ways and yet very subtle if we choose to go in, and it all supports one another. Anywhere you start, you can get to all the Dharma, anyone, foundation, can lead us to the whole of the realization as he says in the text.

The fourth foundation is a little different based on my experience that these first three. It’s not naming what is, it’s not leading to know how to be with what is, but rather, it’s presenting us with a series of views. Five views of what is. Five ways of looking at what is. At looking at what is from the sense experience. The sense ___ experience. Looking at what is from the aggregate experience. Looking at what is from the five hindrances of mind as we’re just seeing like the shoemaker issues, right? And the dressmaker dresses, so we can see life from the hindrances, we can see life from the sense ___, we can see life from the aggregates. And then, the fourth of the five is seeing them from their awakening factors.


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About the author 

Sean Fargo

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at

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