Monday, September 6, 2010

Controlling the Mind

So, I figured when I started on the Zen path, is that I needed to control my mind. If I got sufficient control over it, it will be in peaceful state all the time. I will have bliss and nirvana, and I have achieved my target. Well, seems like reality is way different! So, the mind is a phenomena, just like anything else, with its inherent nature. If you put water on heat, it will boil because of its inherent nature, same way as wood will burn if exposed to heat and oxygen. The mind will be happy when it gets something that it wants and will be sad when it gets something that it does not. There is no way around it, that is how it is programmed. So, then you would say that the answer is to get rid of the root cause - the want. Let me tell you friends - that is not easy or even entirely possible, for most of us who live in mundane world. I cannot get rid of my desire to see my family happy. If they are going through pain, it pains me and I want the suffering to end. A lot of times, when issues are related to having a job or sickness, it is not even a want, it is a need. How can I say it does not matter whether the situation gets rectified or not?

So, back to the question - I don't think it is expected to change nature of mind so much through meditation, but to understand its nature, see how it works and ACCEPT it. Resistance is what causes pain. If I can accept that my mind is sad because of conditions and there is no way to alter its state, but to accept the sadness of moment, it lessens the blow. As long as we are trying actively to change the situation (applying for jobs, getting medical care etc), we are doing what we need to do. Everything changes, and this situation will also change.


  1. Myochi,

    I enjoyed this post very much.

    Reminds me of my favorite quote from "Lawrence of Arabia." At the very start Lawrence slowly puts out a match with his finger tips. A colleague is astonished and wonders about how he blocks out the pain. Lawrence says something like "The trick is not that there's no pain. The trick is not minding that there is."


  2. I have seen that movie..but my memory is very bad..I should see it again sometime.

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  4. Myochi, I couldn't agree with you more. Letting go of the wants to achieve a state of serenity is easier said than done. Acceptance can better help the person since it allows them to face existing problems and find solutions.

    Meditation also found another useful purpose in Thetahealing. Achieving a state of calmness through Thetahealing have helped numerous individuals to find cure to their illnesses. Indeed, the power of the mind is immeasurable. Through some knowledge everyone would be able to fully benefit from it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Dear MyoChi,

    Very truely said.

    Controlling the Mind is compared to stilling a candle flame in the wind.

    Since we feel all emotions in the mind, we think it is essential to control it, meaning we should let it sit/fixed in a particular state(say of happyness) all the time.

    One can look at how difficult it is to do that, or even if its possible etc.

    But if we look deep, we will understand that there is no need to control it, and as you said, accepting it "as it is" and let it react based on what it expects, is a good first step.

    Based on our preferences, the mind reacts to events. Our preferences are also something that are either difficult to change, or not changeable at all.

    But just as we deal with our mind, we should deal with our preferences. Let the preferences be what they are. If Yellow color is preferred, so be it, and if the mind becomes happy looking at Yellow, and becomes sad looking at Blue, so be it.

    The key as you have found out is "letting it go".

    But do so not with a "resigned" attitude. as in, "well.. I cannot do anything about it, so I let it go", or like "thats the way it is", or like"Lifes like that". That only gives temporary comfort, and does not aid in progress.

    The right attitude should be "I will let the mind do what it wants to because 'I' am not the mind, similarly, I will let my preferences be what they are, because 'I' am not the preferences'

    This search for the true 'I' and an answer to it will lead to enlightenment, and freedom from suffering :)

    Best wishes,


  6. Thanks GS...liked the fact that you mentioned about not doing this with resigned attitude but with understanding. That has been the key to my practice...knowing why I am doing something and that is one thing that enabled me to stick to Zen/Buddhism - the encouragement to do the inquiry on one's own and only believe what one sees for oneself.