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Blog: The Six-Rs and Agenda-less Awareness

May 18, 2018

“The six Rs don’t work any more,” a yogi tells me.

I ask: “What do you mean by ‘don’t work’?”

“A distraction comes up. I six-R once or many times. And it doesn’t go away.”

“So by ‘not work’ you mean the six-Rs don’t get rid of distractions?”

“Yes,” he says hesitantly. That is exactly what he meant, but my question makes him wonder if he’s doing something wrong.

Rather than put him on the spot I say, “This is a natural misunderstanding. If done properly, the six Rs are very effective at getting rid of hindrances. The mind notices this. Then, when another hindrance comes up it thinks, ‘I don’t like this hindrance. I’ll drive it off using the six Rs.’ Suddenly they stop working.”

I go on to explain that the six Rs are not about getting rid of anything. We Recognize what’s going on without trying to control or change it. We Release the distraction in the sense of letting it be what it is without trying to hold onto it or push it away. We Relax without trying to control the mind. This feels like relaxing into the distraction rather than moving away from it. Relaxation may generate uplifted qualities. If not, we can smile (or Re-Smile ) to allow this to happen naturally without force. Then we Return to radiating wholesome qualities. If a hindrance returns, that’s not a problem. It happens. We patiently Repeat the six-Rs without trying to change anything.

The six Rs are not about getting or getting rid of or fixing anything. They are only about seeing more clearly what’s going on. That’s their secret. Pure awareness soothes the mind-heart. “Pure awareness” is awareness without an agenda — awareness that doesn’t judge or compare; awareness that is only interested in seeing what’s true; awareness that doesn’t even want to fix anything; awareness without ego.

Our job is to cultivate pure awareness using the six Rs or other practices. Then the pure awareness will take care of us. But if we use the six Rs to promote an agenda or to clarify the mind, then the awareness is no longer agenda-less.

It’s a paradox: if we six-R without the desire to change anything, the mind tends to quiet down. If we six-R to help the mind quiet down, it doesn’t.

The Buddha didn’t create these rules. He just discovered them. We can’t change these rules. But when we live within them, the mind-heart becomes content all by itself.


Copyright 2018 by Doug Kraft

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