Watching the Mind Bounce

A bouncing ball captured with a stroboscopic flash at 25 images per second.

I received an email from someone asking for advice.  Agatha (not the real name!) ask why she is never content with what she has and keep looking for more.  She further asks what happiness is.  She feels weak and tired in the mind and heart.

I wrote her:

Congratulations ###! You have observed that you are discontent with what you have and keep looking for more! ^_^
Further, you rightly observe how this leads the mind and heart to be weak and tired. Well done!

As to why you do that? We all know the answer deep within. It is that we don’t know any better. As in, we don’t know any other way to be happy or to pursue happines (if happiness can be pursued externally at all!).

If your heart-mind is tired, let it rest for a while. When it leaps outward at the world, know that it is leaping, but try to just watch it but not go with it. Kinda like when you are in a movie and your phone goes buzzing silently and you know it is buzzing but don’t go check it.

Do this first and let me know what happens.

Suki hontu!

So dear friends, why don’t you try this today?  Try watching your mind* and see if you can observe but not follow the impulses that arises.  Try and see if you can do it like you know the phone buzz without necessarily checking the phone.  See if you can watch the mind bouncing without going along with it.

Pre-requisite:

  • If you are not a Buddhist, the good news is you don’t** have to be a Buddhist to do so.
  • You just have to be alive (duh!)
  • Want to be happy
  • Ready to take charge and be responsible for your happiness
  • Committed to developing good mental habits

The Dharma is described as the Truth, not because we want to stake claim to be the Truth bearers or wish to disclaim others.  The Dharma is described as the Truth because its principles were observed directly by the Buddha and applies whether you believe it or not.  Just as the Law of Gravity applies whether you subscribe to it or even know it or not, you are accelerating at a rate of 9.8m/s2 (g ~ 9.80665 m/s).  

In a similar way, the Buddha’s teaching describes the Truth of our existence.  So, come and see for yourself.  Ehi passiko.

* For a more thorough discourse on observing and being mindful of the mind, see Digha-nikaya 22: Maha-satipatthana Sutta: The Great Frames of Reference.
** This is not a rationalisation for Buddhists to stop being Buddhists and pretending to practise.  :p  If you already subscribe to the teachings internally, why not commit to it externally as well?

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