Master of our Minds

Who is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?  Book of Serenity, pointer Case 4.

Though I generally don’t like to use the word “master,” in contemplating this pointer I have liked the idea that I “own” or “master” my own mind through the practice of concentration. Learning to place my mind is the clarity of mind that interrupts the running-in-circles “monkey mind” that we first see when we start meditation. The untamed mind is a wild elephant, trampling around and running from here to there.

From Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva:

Wandering where it will, the elephant of mind,
Will bring us down to pains of deepest hell.
No worldly beast, however wild,
Could bring upon us such calamities.
If, with mindfulness’ rope,
The elephant of the mind is tethered all around,
Our fears will come to nothing,

Every virtue drop into our hands.

We can learn to tame the elephant of the mind, to relax, rest and be at peace like a pet curled up next to us. This is the great gift of learning to meditate and focus our minds. We can interrupt our stories, and tether the mind to the present reality, the present sensations and receive the moment as it is. This can be hard to do at first and it needs quite a bit of practice; interrupting and returning to the moment at hand. We do this over and over in meditation and then moment to moment, over and over, in our activity. Cultivating mind’s inherent capacity to stay put is called mindfulness training.

We can see the consequences of an untamed mind. We take a story and run with it. Sometimes creating a whole long negative adventure, that actual never happens. We elaborate and create a storyline for the future that is a total fantasy. What we project may happen, but most times, it doesn’t play out the way we fantasize.

If we have some mastery of placing our mind, we can continually interrupt our conceptual creation of the future and just plant a seed of virtue in the moment at hand. We can plant a seed of generosity, patience, ethical conduct, honesty, or kindness. We can let go of control and surrender to the reality of this moment. We learn to handle what sensations are present, even if they are negative or agitated. We can cultivate faith that if we do plant seeds of virtue in the now, we will create a more positive future. Just this much is enough.

With a clear mind, an open mind, we can receive the moment as it is. This is a very deep understanding of equanimity.  We can meet the source in everything regardless of our evaluations or reaction to the outer conditions.

Can we be at peace with all the outer conditions which manifest as the 8 worldly Winds.

Can I be at peace with

Pleasure and pain
Gain and loss
Success and failure
Praise and blame

Our practice/realization is to meet the source in all circumstances, no matter if we like it or not.

Every moment is the expression of the mystery. Every moment is Buddha.