1. Buddhist

Don't Just Say No to Your Mind

There is a line from an ancient Chinese poem that says, “Seek rest and no rest comes instead.”   Meaning that if you seek something, you will experience the opposite and frustration.   So it is with saying “no” to your mind’s guidance.   It just strengthen’s that guidance, whether it is fear or anger or whatever the emotion or judgment.   It is an often stated maxim in Buddhist teaching that you can’t conquer something by white-knuckling it.   This is why.

So what do you do when the mind gives you guidance that you know is not in your best interest?   The problem is that when you say “no” to your mind, even if you go to your heart for guidance using the various practices I have laid out in other posts (for a summary see “How to Free Yourself from the Control of Your Ego-Mind”), the mind is left hanging.   As the saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum, and so the mind will go back to what it knows.  You have to replace the negative in your mind with something positive.

What you have to do is embrace your mind, say that this isn’t how you are going to proceed, and provide your mind with the guidance you’ve received from your heart.   In so doing, you are turning the tables on the relationship with your mind.   Instead of the mind being in control of you and providing you guidance, you are taking control of yourself and providing your mind guidance.

I have always viewed my mind, or my ego-mind, as my adversary in all things Buddhist.   And it is.   You must be very firm with your mind.   Brook no intervention.   Its guidance is the cause of your suffering, not the events in your life or aspects of your being.  But if you just fight the mind, you will lose.

Nor is it enough, as fundamental as it is, to reconnect with your true self, your heart.   To free yourself from the mind’s control it is important to have compassion for your mind, knowing how it came to be the way it is . . .  which I’ve written previously.   But you must also embrace it while saying “no” and provide it with constructive guidance.

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