Turning the Mind Into An Ally
From the book:
“Many of us are slaves to our minds. Our own mind is our worst enemy. We try to focus, and our mind wanders off. We try to keep stress at bay, but anxiety keeps us awake at night. We try to be good to the people we love, but then forget and put ourselves first. And when we want to change our life, we dive into spiritual practice and expect to see quick results, only to lose focus after the honeymoon has worn off. We return to our state of bewilderment. We’re left feeling helpless and discouraged.”
“The more consistency with which we practice bringing our mind back to the breath, the more we know that basic stability will be there when we sit down to meditate. How are we going to hold the mind to the breath? Just by taking our seat, we’ve got the wild horse saddled. Our tools in training are mindfulness, trenpa, and awareness, sbesbin, “presently knowing”. The power of mindfulness is that we can bring our mind back to the breath; the power of awareness is that we know when to do it. Awareness knows when the horse has bolted, and tells mindfulness to bring it back.”
Instructions for contemplative meditation:
Calm the mind by resting on the breathing.
When you feel ready, bring up a certain thought or intention in the form of words.
Use these words as the object of meditation, constantly returning to them as distractions arise.
In order to help rouse the heartfelt experience of their meaning, think about the words. Bring ideas and images to mind to inspire the meaning.
As the meaning of the words begins to penetrate, let the words drop away, and rest in that.
Become familiar with the meaning as it penetrates.
Conclude your session and arise from your meditation with the meaning in your heart.
Now enter the world aspiring to conduct yourself with the view of your contemplation. For example, if you have been contemplating the preciousness of human birth, your view will be one of appreciation.