My dear friend Andi wrote to me this afternoon with a question regarding something she read on Beliefnet:
In the same way that someone in the midst of a rough crowd guards a wound with great care, so in the midst of bad company should one always guard the wound that is the mind.
James: And here is her email to me:
I know your Buddhist blog isn't an advice column, but I would be very interested in your interpretation of this dharma teaching. Dealing with "bad company" in my house, as it were, I'm trying to find a middle path between closing myself off from it and at the same time remaining open to any positive experiences that are offered to me. It's really f**king hard.
I noticed, too, that this teaching is very specific; "the wound that is the mind" - so I understand guarding one's mind from negativity, patterns of behavior and thinking that perpetuate suffering - but what do we do about protecting the heart? I'm sure that making a division between the heart and the mind is another one of those illusions that we cling to - I'm just not sure how to frame an appropriate meditation - does that make any sense? It's almost as if the language we use makes it more difficult to drop the illusion itself. Maybe Tibetan has better words for it ;)
I'd love to know your opinion about this, and possibly hear from other regular readers of the Buddhist Blog. I will totally understand, however, if you choose not to post it, for whatever reasons you might have.
James's comment: I like to see thoughts as clouds that arise and pass by without much more then that. We can get worried about the dark clouds but they too pass with time.
I also like the idea of waves crashing onto the rocks. We often find ourselves on the rocks of attachment to negative thoughts.
However, when we detach from the waves by climbing up to a "Higher Ground" we can see those same waves as beautiful, soft and without real mean-spiritedness. We see them as simply a manifestation of the life-giving water that runs out of our tap.
Taking the time to spend some moments on the "Higher Ground" through meditation and/or reading some positive and healing words help us nourish and protect our heart in the middle of a heavy storm.
I also like to use mantras and gathas to help when I am in a situation where I can not privately meditate. You can do this in mind or in a private place such as the bathroom or while taking a shower/bath. This is the one I like to use the most:
In...out...deep...slow...calm...ease...smiling...release...present moment...wonderful moment...only moment.
I hope that helps Andi.
Anyone with some advice for Andi, feel free to respond.
-Peace to all beings-
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Posted by They call him James Ure at 2:06 PM