Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mindfulness & Surfing

Mindfulness - Buddhist way of dispassionately observing the mind using the mind. There is plenty of information about the process and practice in books and elsewhere.

Recently while reading a book, one point the author made caught my mind because nobody else had helped show mindfulness in that way.

Paraphrasing the author - mind is like a rough sea. Topsy and turvy. Raises many waves. It is long before we can quiet the mind. In the mean time, we have two choices. One is, we can act as victims and get thrown up and down by those waves of the mind. Other is to learn to ride them. As surfers like to do, we can learn to ride the mind waves. In this way, we will welcome the ups and downs and enjoy them rather than being tossed around by them mercilessly.

Made sense.

Of course, even to get to that state of riding those mind waves, it takes a lot of time and practice. But, seems worth it.

Mind is very funny. Start consciously observing what the mind does. What do you see? It acts like a small child caught in the act of doing something naughty. It is embarrassed and stops what it was doing.

Just try it. As soon as you say to the mind 'I am going to simply watch you', it will stop its assembly line. Junk production stops for a while.

It's a different matter that you lose your intent to observe after some time. Mind is a tough cookie. It's hard to nail it. It will come up with some other ploy.

That's one of the reasons Buddhists ask you to focus on breath and ancient Hindu teachers asked aspirants to choose a holy name or phrase (mantram) and repeat it every second you find a chance. That is to give mind something to hold on to. If something is not given to the mind, it will find and grab what it likes. In many cases, what mind likes is not what we want. So, we can proactively give it something good to hold on to.


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