Monday, February 19, 2007

The original mind

Here is a wonderful description of the mind by Ajahn Chah:
About this mind... In truth there is nothing really wrong with it. It is intrinsically pure. Within itself it's already peaceful. That the mind is not peaceful these days is because it follows moods. The real mind doesn't have anything to it, it is simply (an aspect of) Nature. It becomes peaceful or agitated because moods deceive it. The untrained mind is stupid. Sense impressions come and trick it into happiness, suffering, gladness and sorrow, but the mind's true nature is none of those things. That gladness or sadness is not the mind, but only a mood coming to deceive us. The untrained mind gets lost and follows these things, it forgets itself. Then we think that it is we who are upset or at ease or whatever.

But really this mind of ours is already unmoving and peaceful... really peaceful! Just like a leaf which is still as long as no wind blows. If a wind comes up the leaf flutters. The fluttering is due to the wind -- the "fluttering" is due to those sense impressions; the mind follows them. If it doesn't follow them, it doesn't "flutter." If we know fully the true nature of sense impressions we will be unmoved.

Our practice is simply to see the Original Mind. So we must train the mind to know those sense impressions, and not get lost in them. To make it peaceful. Just this is the aim of all this difficult practice we put ourselves through.
It is really very reassuring to be told that there is nothing wrong with the mind - the real mind, that is. There's nothing to "fix". All we need to do is see what's really there. Wonderful!


  1. How possible is it to attain this state of mind when dealing with trauma? Traumatic memories (like of physical abuse) feel more like kicks in the stomach than flutters. I hope to get to this peaceful place but I'm having a difficult time with it.

  2. This works by the saturation method. You don't expect instant results. But the main thing is not to attribute so much power and validity to feelings. Yes, the memories may "feel" like being kicked in the stomach but that doesn't change the nature of mind. Don't try to "get to this peaceful place". That is simply another attachment. Let it be okay that you are as you are and that you feel what you feel but don't give energy to those feelings by condemning them or justifying them. Those judgments are what keep the feelings being like kicks in the stomach. Slowly (over years) the intensity will subside and you will truly start to feel better.

    I speak from personal experience, Corry, as I have a background of trauma as well. Do not say that recovery is impossible or it will be.

  3. Corry1:12 AM

    I don't believe or say that recovery is impossible. Some days are just harder than others. In general, they have gotten better with time. I'm more accepting now than I used to be. Still there are days that the memories are vivid. I think that it takes a long time to get these traumas out of your body. I have read about them being stored at a cellular level and I think there is some truth in that because of reactions that I some times have that do not come out of my conscious mind. I think these meditation practices can really help and lots and lots of patience.


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