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The mindful way

The disciple was expecting some more challenging exercise on meditation. But the Buddhist monk simply instructed, “Drive all thoughts away from your mind tomorrow and intimate progress in the evening.”

india Updated: Apr 25, 2011 00:01 IST
MN Kundu

The disciple was expecting some more challenging exercise on meditation. But the Buddhist monk simply instructed, “Drive all thoughts away from your mind tomorrow and intimate progress in the evening.” The disciple took it to be an introductory lesson. But next morning he discovered the real challenge. He was bombarded with thoughts all along and could not succeed at all.

But the monk accepted him well in spite of his failure, “Well, tomorrow you need not drive thoughts away. Just keep on thinking something all the time without allowing any gaps in between the thoughts.” The disciple was highly delighted as he had no dearth of thoughts. But again he found it very difficult. He started thinking but very soon found that he was in search of thoughts keeping several gaps in between. He was really ashamed of his poor performance.

Again the compassionate monk treated him well, “Never mind. Whatever you try to resist persists. Hence Lord Buddha taught us neither to drive thoughts away nor invite them. Just observe them as a witness. Practise this all the time while sitting in room or doing anything outside. Also observe when you fail to observe your mind due to absent mindedness without being ashamed.”

The disciple found it quite interesting and started observing his mind as if enjoying a drama. Sometimes the mind was on various body sensations. He minutely observed the sensations. He observed his own thinking process, how thoughts were coming one after another from nowhere and how various emotions were arising in the mind out of various interactions. Sometimes he slipped away from observation but very soon he got back to observation. He was neither judgemental, nor sympathetic but only a witness.

The monk was happy to observe his progress. The disciple too got calmly settled into his observer self which considerably reduced his thoughts and feelings but intensified his overall awareness. He realised the precept of the Buddha that there is neither a doer, not a sufferer, but a mere flow of phenomena.

The best course, therefore, is to remain silent and be a non-reactive witness to this universal flux.