Let’s look at another example of this disbanding of things.
Imagine that I’m worrying about a presentation I have to give at work next week. Because the mood of worrying is arising, the fearful mind is generating the image of a future possibility of failure, public humiliation, etc. Then I begin to think, “I’m going to be giving this speech and that’s going to happen and it’s going to be very bad for me.”
The mood is creating the scenario and the scenario is in turn reinforcing the mood. So they’re actually one thing—they’re dependently originated. Once you see this, the whole drama collapses because you now understand that there is no substance to it. What initially gave it substance was the fact that you believed in it. In Buddhism, we call this kind of belief ignorance.
Once you’ve seen into the truth of dependent origination, you can see cessation taking place moment-by-moment with the ongoing dismantling of “self and other” and of craving itself—which includes the desire for things to be different than they actually are. At these moments, there is no longer any becoming or non-becoming, any aversion or non-aversion. All that is left is silence. And then you realize: “Ah, I see. This is cessation.” You have to make that realization conscious in the mind. As the mind becomes more and more aware of the deep sense of peace accompanying the experience of cessation, there’s a greater inclination to experiment, to observe cause and effect, and to taste this kind of letting go.
How to live then? You live by following the precepts and by taking care of your responsibilities. You do what you have to do. You go to the market to get the week’s groceries, guide your children through the mine fields of adolescence, pay your car insurance, go for a walk in the park, and so forth. But inwardly, you maintain a sense of inner vigilance in order to deepen these basic insights into cessation.
Over time, the heavy fogs of delusion dissipate and the heart abides at ease with the way things are.
This reflection by Ajahn Viradhammo is from the book, The Contemplative’s Craft, (pdf) pp. 165-166.