Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't believe the mind and don't reject it

A wise teacher said, Don't believe the mind and don't reject it either.

Sometimes, as seekers, we take the first part of that teaching to heart, but not the second part. Right?

Infact, the two parts can seem downright contradictory. If we don't believe the mind, then it seems like we must automatically ignore it. True. And the key word is automatically. This is the conditioned response of the mind. We are conditioned to have an either-or response. So if we embrace one pole, then it stands to reason and experience that we cannot embrace the opposite pole. But is that really true?

As we travel on the so-called spiritual path, many of our beliefs actually start to shed and drop away. And most seekers develop a growing and quite healthy inability to believe mind's endless thoughts. :-) But frustration can set in even in the midst of this growing clarity. The frustration can be that thoughts don't stop or that we feel stuck in the mind despite so much having fallen away.

This is where the second part of the teaching can come in handy. Don't reject the mind. Don't resist the mind. For we know that what we resist, persists. And then we feel stuck in the same rut of thoughts and beliefs. So if you feel frustrated, see if there is something of a rejecting attitude towards mind, and towards the thoughts and beliefs. It may be subtle, but even the most subtle rejection can potently reinforce mind.

Perhaps part of the difficulty is that mind keeps posing arguments that sustain it's either-or nature. So it insists that what is not believed must be rejected. Sometimes the seeker buys into this insistence and a certain hardness can develop. All this can be happening very subtly. If this rings a bell for you, tune into it. And expose it to the light of the question: Is it really true? Is it really true that if I don't believe mind, then I must reject it?

You may make surprising discoveries! :-)

Perhaps I can offer an analogy for the mind to consider.

Imagine that you are with an innocent young child. And this beloved child is telling you about the fairies and elves in the garden, or the the monsters under her bed. Would you believe her stories? No, but would you reject them? Isn't there that gentle place within us that can listen to the story, take delight in it and give it loving attention, without believing it? Go there.

This is the quiet ease with what is. This is the resting in the groundless ground. Discover yourself here.


Krishna said...

in the post
"Sometimes the seeker buys into this insistence and a certain hardness can develop. All this can be happening very subtly."

This can take years to happen, the rigidity.. True ?

A teacher quoted from a similar thought for meditation. Accept thoughts and do not resist them.

Ameeta said...

What I mean by a certain hardness developing is this:

When we start to see through many of the beliefs that we have held for so long, we start to lose our trust in the mind that held them! Of course, this is a good thing, for it signals an expansion of perspective. But the mind can perceive this as a loosening of its hold on us, and in panic it can put up a really good defense - usually in the form of a more subtle belief!

Imagine that you had great trust in a friend and relied on him for many things in your life. Then all of a sudden you started to see that he was not telling the truth, that infact he was misguiding you. How would you react? You disbelieve him and perhaps you start to dismiss him too. Is it not? You start to become irritated by this friend and what he says to you. You want to be rid of him and so on. This friend is now completely identified as a villain in your life. This is the hardness that I am speaking about. You forget that he is kind and good and even innocent. And you treat him with disdain. This is rejection. And we have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Now as soon as we reject something, it seeks to be accepted and comes back again and again to show itself to us. In this way we are led to seeing the true essence of everything - good, bad and ugly. And it is all one.

Thanks for your question, Krishna.