Faith in Mind: Comparisons and Anxiety

Not seeing fine or coarse,

How can there be any bias?

Fine or coarse refers to the depth or shallowness of our practice. If we’re practicing to practice, then we aren’t worried about whether our meditation is deep or shallow. We aren’t sitting to attain Enlightenment. We are sitting because that is how Enlightenment manifests itself. That’s an important distinction.

This applies in other ways. Good and bad are the most common labels that we use. We compare everything all the time. We compare ourselves to others far too often. As long as we are comparing things, we will have trouble practicing. All comparison is rooted in delusion, especially when these labels become really important to us.

If we dwell in enlightenment then we don’t see things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. We just see everything as it really is.

The Buddha sometimes described the human mind as like a mirror. It doesn’t have an image of it’s own, but it reflects whatever is put in front of it. One who is really involved in practice can become like a clear mirror, reflecting everything without our labels and preconceptions.

The Great Way is broad,

Neither easy nor difficult.

Easy and difficult are still labels, of course. It’s easy to think of the path as difficult, of course. Some of these concepts are really deep and hard to grasp. But it’s our true nature. It simply is there beneath our delusion. We just have to turn our minds to notice it.

With narrow views and doubts,

Haste will slow you down.

It’s a common problem on the path that people start to doubt themselves. A lot of people come to think they can’t still the mind or expand awareness, so they give up on their practice pretty early on.

A lot of times when people find out I teach meditation they say things like, “That’s really great. I just can’t get my mind to settle down.”

That’s a narrow view and doubt. Giving up when you can’t still your mind right away is like starting out going to the gym and quitting when you can’t lift 100 pounds right away.

If we practice diligently we start to work through this doubt.

“Haste will slow you down” means that if we are really impatient with our practice, if we really want results right away, that will harm our practice. Again, as I said before, we aren’t practicing to attain anything. We are practicing to practice.

Attach to it and you lose the measure;

The mind will enter a deviant path.

I don’t think this happens so much in the modern world, but maybe it does.

We might attach to our practice, to think it has to be done just in a certain way and everyone else is doing it wrong. Of course this isn’t good. We need to be able to adapt our practice for whatever our circumstances are. For example: I like to meditate when things are quiet and I’m alone. But, I still practice when my kids are here. I have to adjust my practice to account for kids being around.

If I was just obsessed with things being quiet, that would be attaching to it and losing the measure.

Next: Faith in Mind 5

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