Meditation is the investigation of your mind. Bring energy
to the exploration of your mental states, instead of simply
getting lost in them.
As we become more mindful, we see their impermanent nature.
Rather than succumbing to habitual responses (“I’m
so restless; I’m such a bad meditator") that are useless
and often destructive, look with interest and see that these are
just different passing mind states. These states have certain
qualities and characteristics, which you can learn about and
explore in all the ways we’ve discussed in this course.
Even if you’ve read countless books,
you’re better off sticking to a single phrase. If
anyone asks which one tell them “Know your mind
just as it is.”
This sums up the whole practice. We want
to know what’s what. We want to know our mind just as it
is. Recognizing these different states when they come and
then learning to relate to them in skillful ways
With energy and courage
Why mention courage here? Does the task of rousing
these persistent and powerful visiting forces to
your mind seem a daunting task? Does the idea of
reversing years of habitual reflexive response to
these forces seem discouraging?
The usual Buddhist antidote to sloth and
torpor is called, in Pali, viriya, which is usually translated
as energy or effort. Another translation of the word, one that
resonates for me with regard to working with the hindrances in
our lives, is courage.
How does courage relate to sloth and torpor?
Strength of heart — let me be present for this...
Particularly in the view of sloth and torpor
as retreating from difficulty, courage is precisely the quality
we need. What does courage mean? It’s root is
is the Latin word for heart. It’s strength of heart,
the strength of heart to be present. Sometimes in difficult
situations, when we might be tempted to retreat from them, we
can practice remembering the word, “courage” — reminding
ourselves of our own strength of heart to be present.
When we’re not mindful of the hindrances, they impede the
development of concentration and wisdom, and they obscure the
natural radiance of the mind. When we are mindful of them — when
we work with them, when we apply mindfulness and awareness and
discernment — all of these states become a vital part of
our practice and a vital part of our awakening.
About this mind... In truth it really anything. It is
just a phenomenon. Within itself it's already peaceful.
That the mind is not peaceful these days is because it
follows moods. … 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
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
Our practice is simply to see the Original Mind. So we
must train the mind to know these 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