March 30 : The Mind and Afflictions

One way to make your mind joyful is to think that it is the afflictions that impede your mind from being open and relaxed. When you have this kind of understanding and awareness, the afflictions have nothing to stand on. There is more space in the mind to look at things in a whole variety of ways. 

One of those ways could be a mind of compassion. It is true, we all value compassion, and we all want to be compassionate. One of the biggest obstacles we have to be compassionate is that our afflictions get in the way. “I want to be generous,” but then miserliness comes in the mind. “I want to be kind… but I’m angry!” We can see how afflictions that are rooted in self-grasping ignorance impede compassion. When you see an affliction arise and say this is not what I want or this is not the kind of person I want to be, it becomes much easier to let go. That is a virtuous mental state. 

Sometimes when you see an affliction in the mind, one part of your mind feels sad and thinks, “I don’t want to be that kind of person.” Then when you think of giving it up, you also become sad because “Who am I going to be without it?” The mind that says, “I’m sad because I have an affliction in my mind, I don’t want to be like that,” is a virtuous mental state. The mind that is grabbing onto: “But if I give that up then people will walk all over me,” or whatever our fear may be, is a non-virtuous state of mind. 

When you identify with that affliction and think, “That’s me”, come back to meditation and ask, “Is that really me?” If my anger is me, then when I say, “I’m walking,” it is the same as saying, “Anger is walking.” And when I say, “I feel benevolent,” it is the same as saying, “Anger feels benevolent,” which is crazy. You begin to look and say, “If I’m my anger, then that’s who I am 24/7. Does that fit the description of who I am?” 

“365 Gems of Wisdom” First Volume (January — March) e-book is out now!