Bhante described how there are four characteristics of the mind that manifest during meditation:
- Mind doesn’t know the distance
- Mind travels by itself
- Mind doesn’t have a body
- Mind is the most powerful controller of yourself
As part of this session Bhante also recommended a daily practice to follow: take care of your mind is an infant totally relying on you, without judgements or complaints about it; without caring about what comes to the mind whether good or bad, maintain your unconditional love as you would with an infant.
[Bhante Sathi] Good to see you all. That’s the power of meditation, we have manifested few more during the meditation [laughing]. When Buddha was talking about mind, he has mentioned the characteristics of the mind. There are four:
Number one – Mind doesn’t know the distance; in pali it’s called Dhurangamam] (or) the distance is not relevant to our mind. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how far we are right now sitting physically, you are bringing your noble committee to your living room, in front of your face, wherever you are, and we get connected. Once you close your eyes, you feel everybody is there. Whether you are going to everybody or they are coming to you. Mind doesn’t have a distance. Distance is not relevant to the mind.
Then the second quality or second nature – It travels by itself. If I were to describe it, whenever mind adopts into another thing, it will become particular thing. Like when your mind becomes angry, that’s the nature of your mind at that time. When your mind is full with love, that’s the nature of your mind at that moment. Mind only becomes one. One particular thing at a time. That’s the second character of the mind.
Then the third one – There is no body. Which means nobody can see it, nobody can touch it, nobody can point it. It doesn’t have a physical place to claim or to show or to feel. That means mind is free from physicality. There is no physical location for the mind. That’s why we can pretend. Your mind may have something else but we can pretend, mind doesn’t carry that.
But, mind cannot survive by itself without your support, without the connection of a person, of the physical body. Which means, just think about it: can you totally avoid [the] nature of the mind? Your mind is changing you. Your mind represents your entire reactions of the body. Your mind is most powerful controller, a controller of yourself. But is only you, your mind is only controlling you. Your mind doesn’t control your spouse, your mom or your kids. But the reaction of your mind may control them but your mind is only controlling you. So, those are the characters of the mind.
So, by knowing those characters of the mind, for daily practice today, I would encourage to think about the concept of how a mother or father or how a caretaker is taking care of an infant; the same way, can you take care of your mind today? Without blaming, without complaining. Just imagine, if you have an infant on your hand, how you look at the infant? Just think about it: if the infant goes pee or potty [laughs], you don’t throw infant away? You don’t really pay attention to yourself but you pay attention to infant thinking how can I support the infant. You never give up your intention or you’ll never give up your love. The same way, can you try to take care of your mind. It doesn’t matter what comes to your mind, it doesn’t matter how bad or good the thought that comes to you, as long you have unconditional love for infant you take good care of your him. The same way, can you try to take care of you? It doesn’t matter what comes to your mind, it doesn’t matter how bad or how good is the thought that comes to you. The way how you have unconditional love for an infant, can you take care of your mind today, as how you take care of the infant?
I would say that’s our practice. Sometimes it would be strange and for somebody who doesn’t have experience with infant, but since you are human being I am sure you all have …with this situation. Simply, without any judgement, without complaint or blame, take care of your mind how mother or father is taking care of an infant, without choosing anything else over them. Even mother or father would not choose themselves over an infant. In the same way, unconditionally taking care of your mind without choosing any emotions, any expectation, even pride etc. over your mind. That would be the daily practice for today. Any questions or any suggestions you may ask?
[Meditator] I was thinking this is going to be an interesting practice because I know most of the time especially when it comes to work, I know I am stressed, I am not centered mentally, and I still choose to keep pushing, because something needs to be get done, or because I think someone is expecting something from me. It’s amazing how many times I personally choose something or someone else I deem more important over the state of my mind [laughs]. So, it’s going to be interesting.
[Bhante] Time to Look at you without judgement. Just think about, going little further: it doesn’t matter whatever the kids are doing, parents are always standing [by] kids. You are justifying even when they blame themselves, that means you always stay with them, stand for them, take care of them unconditionally. So, try your best and see how it works and then share your experience tomorrow with everyone else. Any thoughts??
[Meditator] I thought in today’s meditation, it was interesting. I was following the instruction of being an observer of my body and seeing myself as I’m sitting on the cushion and to feel my breadth and having two different perspectives one from the outside and one from the inside so I feel like when I am watching my breadth, I am here and when I am an observer there’s a sense of me looking back. Is that an intentional prompt? Can you talk about that feeling?
[Bhante] Yes, when you are inside you have a sense of self. I know you are looking at yourself. I mean you are looking over yourself. When you are outside, then you are just looking at you just how another person is looking at you. So, there is a huge difference in that both way. Because, still when we are inside, we have this sense of controlling, a sense of handling. That’s why often people ask during the meditation, “Am I breathing by thinking or letting myself to breathe?” so we are having difficult time when we are in our self. So, the technique we use most of the time, ask the meditator to look at themselves from outside. That’s helpful technique to letting go of yourself. You might see the difference. So, those who are still seeing the controlling part while being looking from inside, I would encourage them to look at themselves from outside. But, if you don’t have that challenge anymore, you don’t have to worry about it.
[Meditator] I think, in that looking from inside, yesterday I was doing a study around tension. What [does] tension really mean and tension in the mind vs tension in the body. I get a little bit of that control when I am on the inside of feeling that tension in my legs, feeling the tension of I am coming out of the meditation, I feel the tension of me wanting to follow or engage with the and with that outside perspective, I did sense a difference of just looking at a person and knowing from meditation and when people express themselves…that when we are expressing that everyone can see what it feels like [smiles], looks like on the inside especially if it looks or feels ugly or overly emotional , when we look at the person: “no, still see you” [laughs]. So, when I am doing a 360 degree of me, as a person sitting on this cushion in this place, I can definitely convince and release this tension which I really doesn’t want to, we give that as a cue often to release the tension, take a deep breath to release the tension?
[Bhante] For the meditation point, really instead of releasing the tension, we are talking about how we can be friendly with the tension. There is a huge difference there. Because, when we talk about releasing the tension and there we have this pre-judgement that its negative, I need to let it go otherwise I am in trouble, I will be in pain. So, now changing this whole perspective of this negativity, if we can encourage us to be friendly with the tension, that means I don’t care if the tension is there or not. But, by being friendly you are changing how you are totally looking at the tension. Anything negative what you call as negative for the meditation perspective, we are practicing to be friendly. Even, how to be friendly with anger, how to be friendly with frustration, fear. Rather than removing or taking it off. Because, every time we try to remove something, then you are making an enemy. You are fighting something. So, maybe your next step, you can add that to your practice…
[Meditator] I don’t know why I am laughing at it. But, it makes sense, to be friendly with things and not having a removal plan.
[Bhante] Yes! [laughs]…. You know I have mentioned many times about this wonderful teacher. One day about 15-16 years before, we were visiting them for meditation workshop. We had lot of mosquitoes. That was a big trouble at that center. Sometimes there are lot of mosquitoes. Then this teacher was laughing and saying – looks like you have lot of friends visiting you today [laughs]. Our perspective totally changed. He used that term many times and our friends took off that complaint totally because of this teacher keeps talking about friends. They reminding you who you are, they remind you [that] you are still alive, they are reminding you about your pain [laughs] To that point, it reminds us that we are alive. So, be friendly that you are alive. Actually, then blaming or complaining, we are fine with at least little bit of goodness appreciating its then finally finding a friend in that pain.
[Meditator] Yes, that makes sense. Thank you Bhante.
[Bhante] Thank you all for coming. May you all be well, happy, skillful and peaceful.
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