Milarepa was a well-known Tibetan meditation practitioner and Buddhist trainer who lived from 1052 to 1135. He stated, “Whenever you run after your ideas, you’re like a canine chasing a stick: each time a stick is thrown, you run after it. As an alternative, be like a lion who, fairly than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One solely throws a stick at a lion as soon as.”
What an exquisite picture!
Your Thoughts Like a Canine
First, the thoughts being like a canine. Isn’t that so acquainted? Canine aren’t very reflective. Neither are we, more often than not. A thought seems in our minds, and our consideration goes chasing after it mechanically. Like a canine chasing a stick, we pursue the thought, take it up, and chew it over.
In meditation, ideas come up very often, as a result of although a part of you intends to meditate and quiet the thoughts, different components of your mind are scanning your expertise to see if there are any threats to your well-being that have to be handled.
If, as is normally the case, there’s nothing threatening happening in your rapid expertise, these components of your mind will comb by means of recollections of issues that occurred prior to now, or have a look at your future itinerary, and search for issues that is likely to be of concern. And so, for instance, you would possibly dredge up an encounter the place your emotions obtained harm, and also you replay the occasions, typically in a number of methods, “workshopping” varied situations. Otherwise you would possibly take into consideration one thing arising that’s possibly a bit scary, and begin imagining all of the issues that may go mistaken.
You extra from a easy thought — possibly only a snippet of a dialog, or a snapshot picture — to a full-on drama.
Buddhism talks about this as prapañca, or “proliferation.”
Your Thoughts Like a Lion
However then there’s the lion. Your thoughts is sort of a lion when it sees the stick of a thought flying by, and as an alternative of chasing the stick, it turns towards the stick thrower. It lets the thought go. It acknowledges that an try has been made to distract it. It isn’t taken in by that try. It’s inquisitive about what this entity is that’s attempting to control it. And so it turns and appears.
The Stick Thrower
Who’s throwing the stick? In Buddhist phrases we’re again to Māra. Māra is a mythological personification of distraction. He’s the psychological trickster who desires us to be distracted and reactive. He desires us to chase the sticks he throws. Māra is that a part of us that’s at all times attempting to throw us off-balance.
Tips on how to Do This
Possibly turning to face the stick-thrower isn’t one thing you’ve ever accomplished. So how you can we get began?
It might probably assist to really feel the lion high quality of your thoughts. Consider a lion’s regular eyes. Its low growl. Its energy. Its fearlessness. Let these qualities fill your thoughts and your physique. Strive it proper now, as you observe the house of your thoughts. In case you’re something like me, it in all probability feels fairly good.
So generally after I’ve seen my thoughts go chasing sticks in my meditation just a few instances, I’ll flip towards the place the place ideas come from. And I’ll observe it, ready to see what occurs.
However then I’m going additional, and dare Māra to tempt me.
Calling Out the Satan
I’ll say one thing like “Come on, Māra. Present me what you bought. Present me what you’re made from.” After which I’ll simply watch, like a lion, and see what he comes up with. The watching is imbued with lion vitality — a way of energy, confidence, and braveness. I really feel this vitality in my physique as properly.
I can remind myself that the sticks, or ideas, are actually illusions. They’re not actual occasions that I’ve to take care of. They’re psychological fabrications.
Normally after just a few of Māra’s sticks have flown previous me, my inside canine will make an look once more. And so I’ve to maintain on summoning the inside lion, and turning again to face the stick thrower.
And so I’ll say, as soon as once more, “Good one, Māra! Intelligent trick. Your phantasm fooled me that point. For some time. So, what else do you have got?”
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