Settling the Mind in its Natural State

This practice has been emphasized in the Mahayana tradition before spreading to Nepal and Tibet. It means that we steadily observe virtuous and non virtuous thoughts arising in the mind without desire or aversion, letting thoughts subside of their own accord and awareness arise without any object other than itself. Chokyi Gyaltsen explained it this way: “Whatever sort of thoughts arise, without suppressing them, recognize what they emerge from and what they dissolve into; stay focused while you observe their nature. By doing so , eventually the motion of thoughts ceases and there is stillness…each time you observe the nature of any thoughts that arise they will vanish by themselves, following which, a vacuity appears. Likewise, if you examine the mind when it remains without movement, you will see an unobscured, clear and vivid vacuity. That is called the union of stillness and motion”. Dudjom Lingpa said; “Eventually all coarse and subtle thoughts will be calmed in the empty expanse of the essential nature of your mind and consciousness comes to rest in its own natural, unmodified state. That experience is soothing, gentle, clear , limpid consciousness that is neither benefited nor harmed by thoughts, and you experience a remarkable sense of stillness without needing to modify, reject or embrace anything.” Settling the mind in its natural state is an effective way of knowing the mind and healing the mind. We can remove mental habits by realizing : That thinking the thoughts and images we experience don’t exist outside of our own mind, That compulsively responding to mental events with craving and aversion are not intrinsically pleasant or unpleasant...

Peace of mind in challenging times

Most of us strive for peace in our heart and in the world at large. There are a few elements in our larger world that strive for chaos, destruction and separation when others have different views from them in the name of truth, believing they are the only ones that have the truth. Anytime people espouse truth at any cost they feel at liberty to condemn and eliminate those who hold a different truth. It doesn’t have to only be a religious or philosophical truth, it can be lineage truth, silent or loud truth, inconceivable, territorial or ultimate truth. Circumstances are always neutral, any solid attitude or constricted ideology is charged with an either/or strand that cuts deep into our identities and gives rise to righteous indignation, stand offs and a need to defend that ideology. What can we do in the face of hate, ignorance, cruelty? We cannot be silent, stubborn or do nothing; we can build stronger communities of service and compassion, with small acts of kindness for each other, realizing how precious this rare life of ours is. We can see the gifts and skills of people rather than their shortcomings, experience more spaciousness with our views of others, letting go of solid opinions and sense the inherent goodness that lies in the heart of our diverse circles of beings. We can give fearlessness by eliminating our habitual unwholesome thoughts and plant seeds of kindness, looking upon others with soft eyes, suspending hateful narratives and judgment. A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about the tragedy of September 11. He...