lesson
1

The View — Working with Your Mind

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Before you begin learning how to train the mind to abide peacefully, this lesson provides an opportunity to explore your motivation and to learn where the journey of meditation can take you.

Why are you taking a course called Taming the Mind? Why are you learning about peaceful abiding meditation? How is your mind not your ally? What do you hope to affect by participating in this course?

When we sit in meditation, we are walking in a sense. We are moving in a certain direction, in accord with our view.

View means always knowing what we are doing. When we sit down on the cushion we should completely understand why we are doing so and what the purpose is. View is very simple: it is understanding. It is having a feeling, a motivation, a desire to know which way and how we are going. For example, if we have a view from this hill, we can look and see where we are going. Then, as we walk, we are in a sense combining view and action.

You’re about to embark on a journey while sitting on a meditation cushion (or a chair). Before you sit down on the cushion you need to understand what your purpose is — why you are doing this.

Motivation

You have to realize why you want to meditate in order to have the inspiration to meditate. You need a self-reflectiveness, a quality of looking at yourself and your mind, at who you are and how you are.

The reasons with which you begin become your inspiration and guides to continuing meditating.

Why might you want to know what you’re doing before you begin?

Longing for a different way

Are you looking for a different way? How would you describe this different way? Do you know what it looks like or are you only aware of what you want to be different?

The human mind is capable of inconceivable acts of aggression and brutality. It’s also capable of inconceivable acts of bravery and kindness. Whichever of these that occurs it all starts with individual thoughts and individual emotions. That’s why we work so hard in training the mind in meditation, to develop constancy and stability and strength because so much is at stake, so much is at stake.

Choknyi Rinpoche - September 10, 2001


We're tuning in to the lack of aggression, to the peacefulness that is our nature — the peacefulness, intelligence, strength, clarity, and wisdom that is in fact the nature of our minds. It’s not a matter of constructing something that doesn’t exist, but rather tuning into what we already have; understanding how we obscure that, get alienated from that, lose track of that, get distraught, anxiety-ridden, lost — dis-spirited. The inspiration of spirituality is to find our spirit, to be in touch with our heart.