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 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 are unconcerned.

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 through.

Ajahn Chah


Letting Go of the Hindrances

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Your Weary Mind

Sloth & Torpor
Letting Go