June 18, 2010

Weekend Challenge: Train Your Mind

"Train your mind" may seem to be an almost unmanageable command. Many of us are controlled by our minds rather than the other way around. We know to try to not be anxious or worried, but these feelings keep us awake at night. Likewise, we may not wish to judge others but many of us do regardless. We often feel too powerless to control our minds. In the words of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the son of Chögyam Trungpa, “our minds seem so inflexible.” The problem with this is, as he points out, “A society of hard and inflexible minds is a society that is incapable of nurturing the flowers of love and compassion.” Yet the goal of trained mind is not as unachievable as we may at first be lead to believe.

The first step is meditation. This weekend, spend just twenty minutes (or more if you so choose) grounding your minds in the moment and in what the Sakyong calls, “peaceful abiding.” Focus on the breath and keep it there, but don’t punish yourself when thoughts or emotions come along. Instead acknowledge them and then let them go. The first step in training your mind is observing it. Find time this weekend to just act as a witness.

Sakyong Mipham's book is Turning the Mind Into an Ally. It was published by Riverhead Books in 2003.

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Al R.'s picture

Is this a form of mind training? While watching the film "This is It" of Michael Jackson rehearsng, I challenged myself to not think about or look at his nose. For the effort I saw glimpses of his artistry and the other dancer around him.