lesson
1

The View — Working with Your Mind

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Creating a Workable Mind

Once we see how our mind works, we see how our life works, too. That changes us. That's the point of talking about mind and meditation. The more we understand about ourselves and how our mind works, the more the mind can work.

Our mind is like hard ground that has not seen water for a long time. That ground is not capable of giving nourishment to anything. Whatever is planted in it dies. Nothing grows.

Trumgpa Rinpoche

You might have a deep aspiration to slow down, to be more compassionate, to be fearless, to live with confidence and dignity, but you may find yourself unable to accomplish these things because you're so set in your ways. Our minds can seem so inflexible!

If we want to go on any kind of journey — not just a spiritual one, but also a mundane or secular one such as studying, doing business, or athletics — we need a workable mind that we can rely on. That is the notion of shamatha. By training the mind you create the environment in which you can use your mind to do what you want.

Settling

This is a demonstration I learned from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.


Recollecting

One term for meditation is recollection. As you sit, you are here in some way. After a while, a part of you that was balancing the checkbook arrives. Like stop-action photography, you progressively arrive on your cushion. Collecting yourself — your scattered self, your scattered energy, your scattered attention — you become more present.

If you can imagine a progressive process of recollecting yourself, how is the "you" at the end — the you that's "more like you" — different from the you now?

Familiarizing

Training

It seems we all agree that training the body through exercise, diet, and relaxation is a good idea, but why don't we think about training our mind? Working with your mind and emotional states can help you in any activity in which you engage, whether it's sports or business or study—or a religious path.

Is there a question in your mind about the value of spending time and effort training your mind? Id so, think about the time you've spent educating or training yourself. The years you spent in school. Other things you've taken classes in. Perhaps you do train your body. Why is this training different?