Saturday, September 1, 2012

About That Thought

In The Mirror of Zen, Zen Master So Sahn quotes a gem that goes like this: “If you know the arising thought is itself unreal delusion, you are already free.”

If you haven’t been introduced to this before it may seem difficult to believe. Many of us love our thoughts. Even if we don't love all of our thoughts, we may still believe we are our thoughts. Maybe we should investigate this a little further.

One way to do that is by the practice of meditation. Specifically, watching the thoughts without buying into them. This type of practice generally uses the breath or a mantra as the mechanism to return to the present moment. By doing this, awareness of the ceaseless nature of thought grows. So grows insight into our own minds. (As an aside, meditation is really a grand subject and it is covered in much more detail in many places including Mind Makes Everything.)

As we pay attention, we will see a whole plethora of thoughts spanning many subjects. We may become aware of many things, including thoughts that aren’t in our best interest or even thoughts that are simply lies. We will see which thoughts grab us, excite us, and stress us out. Some thoughts will have us as the hero, some as the victim. It really is fascinating to watch.

We take it a bit further, along with watching the thoughts we work to not attach to them. Continuing to return to the breath or the mantra, we may begin to see the delusional nature of the ever-present thoughts. Instead of buying into them, we simply return to the truth of the present moment - without judgment. That is pretty neat stuff. It is also practical in the sense that it helps us in our everyday lives. So I ask you, are you your thoughts? Are your thoughts the truth?

(Note that Zen Master So Sahn took it even further - he mentioned freedom. Please find that freedom!)