Controlling One's Mind
Our old friend, dukkha
(suffering), arises in the mind as dissatisfaction
caused by all sorts of triggers. It can be triggered by bodily discomfort, but more often it is caused by the
mind's own aberrations and convolutions. The mind creates dukkha, and that's why we must really watch
and guard our minds.
Our own mind can make us
happy, our own mind can make us unhappy. There is no person or thing in the whole world that
will do this for us. All happenings act as triggers for us, which constantly catch us unawares. Therefore, we
need to develop strong awareness of our own mind-moments.
We have a good chance to do that in
meditation. There are two directions in meditation, calm (samatha) and insight (vipassana). If we
can achieve some calm, that indicates that concentration is improving. But unless that valuable skill is used
for insight, it's a waste of time.
If the mind becomes calm, joy often
arises, but we must observe how fleeting and impermanent that joy is, and how even bliss is essentially still
only a condition which can be easily lost.
Only insight is irreversible.
The stronger the calm is established, the better it will withstand disturbances. In the beginning any noise,
discomfort or thought will break it up, especially if the mind has not been calm during the day.
Impermanence (anicca) needs to
be seen quite clearly in everything that happens, whether it is in or out of meditation. The fact of constant
change should and must be used for gaining insight into reality.
Mindfulness is the heart of Buddhist meditation
and insight is its goal. We're spending our time in many different
ways and some portion of it in meditation, but all our time can be used to gain some insight into our own mind.
That's where the whole world is happening for us. Nothing, except what we are thinking, exists for us.
The more we watch our mind and see
what it does to us and for us, the more we will be inclined to take good care of it and treat it with respect.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is taking the mind for granted. The mind has the capacity to create good
and also evil for us, and only when we are able to remain happy and even-minded, no matter what conditions are
arising, only then can we say that we have gained a little control. Until then, we are out of control and our
thoughts are our master.