Insight Meditation Online

Living Meditation, Living Insight 


If we agree that have innate peace, what do you think gives us non-peace? From the standpoint of peace of mind, thoughts by themselves are neither good nor bad. It is only when the concepts of "I" and "mine" arise that the mind is thrown into conflict. Likes and dislikes quickly follow these concepts of self. This where the real trouble begins.

A thought by itself is okay. Let's say you've lost your keys. It happens. The problem begins when you start judging the fact that you misplaced your keys. "I dislike it when I lose my keys.... I like it so much better when I have my keys and I can continue my busy schedule." You might go on with your thinking: "Why am I so careless? It must have been because the children were rowdy." Then you might put your thoughts into words: "Look what you made me do - I was so busy with you that I lost my keys." You might put those thoughts and emotions into physical actions by rushing around looking for the lost keys.

All this commotion stems from your reaction to a couple of misplaced keys. Let's go back to what prompted the commotion. When you had the thought, "I lost my keys," you weren't able to let go of that thought. Instead, you immediately jumped into likes and dislikes. Feeling, conflicts and frustrations are born from this dichotomy of likes and dislikes. You allowed yourself to be swept away by your judgments, your feelings, your frustrations.

But let's look at the thoughts for a moment. They arise, and by their own accord they fall away. That is, unless we cling to them. If we allow thoughts to continue their normal span, they will naturally fall away. All thoughts are subject to the universal law of impermanence, anicca.

For those of you who are familiar with Buddhism, you know this law of change. You accept it in many aspects of your lives. But can you apply it to the most important area of all - your mind? Can you watch thoughts and emotions as they arise in your mind? Can you allow them to naturally fade away, without clinging to them? Or do you indulge in letting the "I" grasp onto a thought, an emotion?

By their nature, thoughts are transient, unless the "I" interferes and refuses to let them go. By clinging to thoughts and emotions, the "I" prolongs the emotion-span - on and on. It is the "I" which insists on clinging to thoughts and emotions that creates non-peace.

Peace has nothing to do with the "I." It is not "my" peace. As long as you think you own peace - as long as you think, "I like my peace" - then you will not experience peace.

A friend of mine, a spiritual educator, came up with a metaphor that may hel explain the process. Let's take the phrase, "I like peace." If we eliminate the "I," then we are left with "like peace." If we go further and eliminate the "like," then all that remains is peace. Peace is something that can be felt but not owned. Peace can be experienced when we eliminate our ideas of likes and dislikes about peace.

P: It sounds as though we can do something to realize this state of peace ...that we can purposely eliminate concepts of "I" and likes and dislikes.

Thynn: No, this example is just a metaphor. Realization of peace does not come with "doing" anything with your mind, nor does it come with "not-doing." "Doing" and "not-doing" are just more concepts to cling to. Right? When you can let go of your ideas of how to obtain peace, of what to do and not do, then your mind is silent and you can experience peace. As long as your mind is rushing back and forth between likes and dislikes, then your mind is too busy to experience peace. When the mind calms and is silent, then you can realize its innate peaceful nature.

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