Sunday, April 6, 2014

THE ZEN WAY TO CALM YOUR MIND



There are many interpretations of this piece of Zen wisdom. Here’s my take on it---but first a few words on the mind and the brain.

The materialist view that asserts that the mind and the brain are one and the same---the so-called mind-brain identity theory is wrong ... very wrong. Recent discoveries in neuroscience as respects the mind and the brain, and in quantum physics as respects the nature of reality, have shown that the mind and the brain are not co-extensive or identical, and that mind or consciousness is the creator and governor of so-called matter. 

Now, the brain uses the mind---to think, feel, and so on---but the mind is ‘larger’ (for want of a better word) than the brain. The brain is infused with mind, as are all parts of the human body. Mind exists outside of and even beyond the brain. Mind is consciousness, and there is mind wherever there is life in any shape or form. The brain is a physical object that can be seen by the eye. It is perceptible by the senses, and like all material objects it has size, weight, and form. Not so the mind, which has no parts. The mind is non-physical, immaterial, and spiritual. (A 'spiritual' substance is something which, although real, is not perceptible by the senses. We only know 'it' by its effects.) The brain perishes with the human body. Not so mind, which is the very essence and substance of life itself. Life is forever changing shape and form, but life itself is indestructible.

In a sense, we have no mind at all. That means there is no mind to calm. So, what exactly are we---each one of us? Well, each of us is a centre---an inlet and an outlet---of consciousness from which all things are a matter of observation. We are made up of ‘mind-stuff’ and awareness or consciousness is the ‘stuff’ or very ground of our being. Yes, you have a body, but you are not that body. You experience sensations in your body, but you are not those sensations. You have a brain, but you are not that brain. You have thoughts, but you are not those thoughts. (Note. I didn't say, 'you think thoughts.' It is thought that creates the supposed 'thinker,' but neither thought nor the thinker has any permanence.) You have emotions, feelings and desires, but you are not those emotions, feelings or desires. All those 'things' are impermanent and insubstantial. So, what are you? You are that in you that lives and moves and has its be-ing in and as you. You are the impersonal, and you are the personal. You are your be-ing.  Life is be-ing, and its be-ing is your be-ing.

Mind is be-ing, or rather be-ing-ness, and only that is permanent. Mind is the All-in-All, overall all and through all. We are immersed in mind. We have our very be-ing in mind. Mind is infinite. Any attempt to find it will fail. Mind is life, and life is consciousness. Mind within you is the only presence there is. It is the ‘silent voice’ that speaks into visibility all the life there is. Mind---your ‘I Am-ness’---is what is, and that is what in truth you are.

There is no need to calm your mind. For starters, where is your mind? Can you find it? You cannot calm it---or for that matter do anything else with it---unless you can first locate it.

In the Zen exchange set out above the master does the only thing any teacher or so-called guru really can do. The master manages to get the pupil to have an enlightening experience in which the pupil comes to ‘see,’ know and understand for himself … perhaps for the very first time. Here, the master successfully leads the pupil to experience, in that Zen direct intuitive way, the fact that he (the pupil) has no mind to calm. All the pupil---and all of us for that matter---has to do is to … BE CALM. 

Stop looking for your mind. Stop analyzing and judging the contents of what you take to be your mind. And stop identifying with those contents as if they were you, the person among persons that you are. Do you want to be calm? If so, practise calmness. Practise stillness. Practise quietness. Practise silence. You see, the very truth of your be-ing is calmness, stillness, quietness, and silence. A good way to start---and finish for that matter---is to get the body calm. Yes, the body. If the body is calm, you will soon be calm. Be still ... and know.

That is all you have to do. It sounds too amazing to be true, but truth is always like that.

There, you see, I’ve calmed your mind already.


Calligraphy: Mushin---'empty mind.'


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THE TIMELESS IN YOU---AND THE DEATH OF MATERIALISM


'ENTER ZEN FROM THERE,' SAID THE MASTER



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