Blockades on the path to peace of mind and heart
“peace comes from within,do not seek it without”
~~~~ Buddha ~~~
The uncontrolled mind/ego
Unless the mind becomes still and fully absorbed in the Present moment in meditation,it will remain in chaos, disturbed and in the agony of wandering,unattended and defiled.It cannot focus and will be unclear and languid.There will be no clarity of vivid understandings and deeper insights of the truth of the nature of life.The realizations of unconditional Love and wisdom will be difficult to pierce into,it will remain only on the outer periphery waiting continuously for stillness of mind to commence.
When the mind lacks attentiveness and stillness, it runs ‘wild’,there is no attention span,there is no discipline….it goes berserk, it gets out of control with thoughts,thoughts,thoughts….no presence! The mind in continuous mode of chatterings and wasteful dispersal of thoughts will be become tired and drained,the body soon becomes lethargic and lacks enthusiasm…..depression/joylessness(undetected) set in.So for some people they start building up body vitality by way of exercises and other physical prowess………this is only a temporary regiment to keep the mind in control,for others,the looking for temporary reliefs in external stimuli…………enjoyments, amusements,activities,work and staying busy,busy,busy(this is where addictive behaviours tend to develop)…………when we are constantly keeping ourselves occupied,we might find we tend to be easily agitated,frustrated,exhausted,and a feeling of ‘worn-out’and meaninglessness ensue…then the cycle repeats in a selfish adaptation of needing attention for ourselves incessantly…………………thus we cannot be there,present,we can become unhappy doing anything for ourselves and others!
Have we taken any notice that while we can be in the company of someone or at a party enjoying ourselves,the mind is wandering, thoughts run to thinking about work tomorow,what to wear to work,what to bring for lunch to work,etc.etc.Then while we are work, the mind seems to be replaying pictures/sensations of the previous night rendezvous with our partner or the unfinished angst of an ‘ugly quarell we had with someone.Even while we might appear to be praying, in church/temple/mosque,or at home, do we find our minds running loosely,thinking of what to cook, to eat,the children’s needs,my hair is in need of a haircut etc.etc…………………..the influence of the world of multitasking,being efficient and more productive,puts more stressors on our already chaotic mind state……..
And if we bother to become further aware of the mind and its erratic ways, we find it will always swing back and forth between past activities(hurts,regrets, anger,disappointments,happy times,etc.etc.)to future endeavours(in need of another home,bigger car,latest techno gadget,etc.etc.)
……..the mind does not seem to stay present where we are,who we are with or whatever situation we are in,although,we may seem that we are doing so……………….The mind tends to get stucked in stories of past guilts and fears and shames and regrets and illusory happiness and then gets caught in anxiety and worries of future desires, fantasies/dreams and undertakings.
The mind can be the agitator as well as the platform for peace……….which will we allow it to be?Notice how the mind can be triggered to agitation,eg.when we see a zit/pimple on our face….what is our reaction?……we might hate the way we feel about ourselves at that time and might also throw a tantrum with something so trivial as seeing a pimple on our face…….how more ‘dangerous’ the mind becomes when we don’t get what we want in a more demanding or serious situation of life?
So to add fuel and more chaos to the already distracted mind,the ego-centered entity comes into play to annoy our lives further……the ego is that small,lower self( that unawakened/unaware consciousness within) with a limited,conditioned mind-set based on fear.It is that part of us that is stubborn,constantly putting up a barrier,defensive and retaliative.It might act boisterously to cover up its fear mode or act ‘demurely’to show goodness(the pretender).It is that part of us that is the attention seeker,a part that is needy,wanting to be right and recognised,to be made important…. in truth it is that insecure part of us that wants to be in control.It is that selfish persona that is all about the ‘I’,’me’,and ‘mine’………..we do things not for a higher selfless purpose but out of conditions and false motivations to feed our selfish needs and behaviours……….we tend to identify with what we think(the chatterings of the mind).For example,look at how we react when someone turns us down to go have fun,go for a drink or travel,etc.etc. see how quick we get upset,how we judge without any clue of understanding/respect for another and think that person ‘useless’ and unfriendly leading to an unnecessary falling-out of a relationship.
There is a saying…..’starve the ego and feed the soul!’……..in other words,nourish the being with goodness and loving, kind intentions, deeds and speech.See how it feels when we do something benevolent without the need of approval or needing anything back!Allow kind actions to soften and open the heart………………..
A Zen story
A student went to visit his zen master for spiritual teachings.While there,the student kept questioning and asking the master for answers,the master quietly served the student with tea and kept pouring the tea in the student’s cup until it overflowed………the student yelled for the master to stop pouring as it was overflowing.The master replied…..”how can I teach you unless you first empty your cup”…………………….(in other words to be humble and willing to make the effort to be taught)
If we don’t admit mistakes and in need of help,how will we learn to find healing and learn the truth and how can the heart be open to love unconditionally?
In order for the mind to be stilled we have to acknowledge and be aware of our disturbed mind and how it is creating unhappiness and unease in our lives(we might be in denial and think that we are absolutely happy in our lives).We can learn mindfulness practice of watching our thoughts,actions,speech and feelings.The breath is another tool to help keep the mind in harmony…………………….to be in the Now………..
As a leaf falls into the stream and it floats downstream meeting the river……it simply flows where the river current rushes…..there can be no going upstream…….finally the river opens out into the sea and the leaf is freed into the vast ocean……………
As the saying goes…”what we resist,persists”…….when there is resistence there is always tension,unhappiness and discord.When we start to understand the underlying cause of all discords,we see in that understanding,there is that need for control,a selfish need to ‘not give in’,holding back,unable to make it easy to accede …..we fight a futile battle within ourselves because we think we can make ourselves ‘happy’by making others unhappy or perhaps we get a ‘kick’ out of witholding truth and kindness and love.Instead we are truly causing more damage to the injured soul,in other words we self imprison ourselves to a life of continuing unhappiness and misery!
Like a beautiful bird in a cage who is fed,cared for and admired, one day the owner feels sorry and comes to a realisation that this bird is trapped and feels that it is in need to be free in nature,so the owner opens the cage door and allows the bird to fly free,but ironically,the bird is afraid and forgets its true nature of freedom,it doesnt want to budge and chooses to stay in the cage!
Like the bird we forget the truth of our innate nature…..free to be,free to live in love, free to act courageously and consciously,free to know that we can only be the master of our being,nobody has the power or control of our rights to live….we can only take responsibility for how we choose to live…….in wisdom or in foolishness…..
Once we can courageously see and accept this truth….we can start learning and be willing to let go of anything ……. and feel the relief and peace that come with it…………..we can start to come out of the conditioned mindset.
A lot of people have this concept that freedom to live is about running wild and easy and enjoying life frivolously and affecting others lives unconsciously without any concern. Freedom is rather an unconditional state of awareness where one will not allow to be controlled or wanting to control any longer………its consciousness is not imprisoned or affected by external factors and circumstances…it acts according to its own independent conscience for the good and benefit of all,even if that situation will not seem to have a favourable outcome…in other words it will accept good or not so good situations and live accordingly…it accepts and allows everything to be as it should be with no distinctions.
Freedom will not be affected by blame,praise, losses and gains,good or bad …..it will joyously mingle with friends and foes alike….it knows no separation….it holds all humanity and creation within that Freedom….it knows that the suffering and the joy of one person is the joy and suffering of all beings the same………………
True Freedom comes from the Joy of having seen our inner states,with all its flaws and all its goodness and having taken the courage to make the journey and effort to be truthful and learn from the past,make amends and to love ourselves for it……….then letting go and being freed from it….the Presence of freedom also allows the truth of allowing the future to unfold as is…………it will not try to make excuses of the what ifs,what should and should not be….it will simply be a learning of lessons and a continuation of moving forward to betterment…..
Freedom holds the being in self-aceptance of whatever will be will be!
Freedom will not resist,deny or resent any good or unsatisfactory situation…………..freedom is conscious fearlessness!
Freedom allows each being including ourselves to live and act freely without judgements,finding faults, passing comments and looking at the speck in another’s eye. it will act fearlessly to take courage to pull out the log in our own eye first!
When we are free to look into our own being…we can be free from the attachments of worry(especially so in terms of loved and dear ones),free from grasping to be needy of anothers attention,from needing recognition and importance,free from imposing conditions on others…eg,if you do something for me,I’ll do something for you kind of attitude(whats in it for me!).We actually free ourselves from emotional, mental and physical entanglements …it allows others to simply be with a knowing that they too have the potential and capacity for their own freedom.
Freedom from attachments doesn’t mean we feel cold/numb,aloof,uncaring and indifferent to the welfare of others.Freedom from attachments matter of fact allows that divine space within us to act and engage wisely depending on the circumstances without expectations of the outcomes,without obligations to be further dragged into the drama and of not being severely affected/disturbed whereby we become traumatised and be tormented ‘permanently ‘by the situation.In other words we will feel compassionately and understandingly and be respectful of the impermanence of the nature of the human journey and life and living.Yes the pain of feeling another’s suffering can be overwhelming(like a sword piercing through the heart) but freedom from attachments allows pain to be buffered and healed accordingly at its own pace and time…………………
Freedom is truly about having the courage to go deep into ourselves and touch that sacred chamber within and love ourselves with all its imperfections and goodness…..
To live in freedom is like the leaf flowing with the natural current of the river…..not struggling against the flow until it finally reaches the ocean to become One with it!
Living in freedom means we are able to recognise our individuality and our independence and we acknowledge no matter what each being possesses the same quality with no need to possess or to have control/power over,we are unique on our own yet we remain interdependent upon each other to help facilitate spiritual growth and human evolvement.
As we recognise the freedom of detachment, we can nourish and nurture our inner states of well-being without being affected by extenal ideologies,beliefs and influences of others…just the same we will not infringe or impose upon others what they need to experience or learn for themselves………we allow the understanding that each person will evolve accordingly to their own time,pace and karma(reap what you sow,cause and effect).
No one belongs to anyone….not even our children,lovers,family,friends,students and teachers……we are all individuals……yes, we can take care,we can love, we can help,we can share with each other,but we cannot possess or say anything belongs to me or I belong to them.When we see this positive truth of detachment we can be engaged to love fully without fear of losses and dissapointments and allow ourselves and others to just Be!…………we cannot stifle the growth of others,eg,we expect our children to be doctors,but deep down the child wnats to be a ski instructor….so unhappiness is created both ways…..the parents’high expectations and the child’s inner conflict!
To live in freedom is learning to accept and surrender to the present moment,trusting in the flow of life…..and letting go……nothing is wrong or right,good or bad,we can always make changes,learn from mistakes, find solutions and work our way through it!