Sunday, March 19, 2006

This is your mind on meditation

Here's an excerpt from a webpage entitled, "Looking Inward: Observations on the Art of Meditation" by Upasika Kee Nanayon:
After you've worked at this a good while, you'll come to see how important the ways of the mind are. The mind may be hard to train, but if you keep training it -- if you have the time, you can practice at home, at night or early in the morning, keeping watch on your mind -- you'll gain the understanding that comes from mindfulness and discernment. Those who don't train the mind like this go through life -- birth, aging, illness, and death -- not knowing a thing about the mind at all.

When you know your own mind, then when any really heavy illness comes along, the fact that you know your mind will make the pain less and less. But this is something you have to work at doing correctly. It's not easy, yet once the mind is well trained there's no match for it. It can do away with pain and suffering, and doesn't get restless and agitated. It grows still and cool -- refreshed and blooming right there within itself. So try to experience this still, quiet mind...

This is a really important skill to develop, because it will make craving, defilement, and attachment grow weaker and weaker. All of us have defilements, you know. Greed, anger, and delusion cloud all of our hearts. If we haven't trained ourselves in meditation, our hearts are constantly burning with suffering and stress. Even the pleasure we feel over external things is pleasure only in half-measures, because there's suffering and stress in the delusion that thinks it's pleasure. As for the pleasure that comes from the practice, it's a cool pleasure that lets go of everything, really free from any sense of "me" or "mine."
I like the distinction between "cool pleasure" and the pleasure that comes from defilements. "Cool pleasure" is non-judging and non-attached. And it's so much more reliable that the apparent pleasure that comes from self-indulgence and grasping.

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