I think it is important, in the quest for knowledge, enlightenment, or whatever name the topic may be given, to start with the self. This is important because through the self is how all external things come to be known. Everything you have gone through for as far back as you can remember has caused a thought in the mind, provoked a feeling, and (using more thoughts I might add) as you begin to weigh the various consequences, these thoughts then turn to actions of the body in answer to the original action. To explain further and in a more understandable way altogether, I turn to the corn analogy.
Imagine there is a gardener. They walk down to the garden from their home to plant and grow a stock of corn, and after the stock has grown they strip all of the kernels onto the palm of their hand and cast them all over the ground before them. Now, with all of the kernels cast and scattered on the floor, the gardener picks up one kernel and analyzes it. We will call the kernel that the gardener is looking at one thought. As the gardener, do you notice that you are the observer of each individual thought, each individual corn, in a field of incomprehensible size? Every kernel you have ever inspected and was filed to memory has cumulatively become who you see as yourself, when really, you were the observer of the kernel instead, the entire time. We know that we are not the thought itself, because if we were, then we would come and go with the thought itself. Instead, we are a step back, watching each thought, each kernel as we pass on to the next one and decide where to plant our seeds. We are the blank canvas waiting to be painted by the senses and thoughts of the cornfields’ one by one tastes of knowledge. We are the nothingness, if you will, of our minds, for only in the open awareness of nothingness are we able to observe any corn at all.
With this, we see ourselves introduced to the concept of the separation of body and mind. We can know that we are not our bodies because we cannot control our own inner processes. We are only part of the brain, the consciousness, the observer, the blank canvas, the nothingness. We should aim to become the perfect gardener of our own minds, tending to each ear of corn with care and the perfection that comes with being attentive. The body is our vessel in this way, our vehicle. As if our first and closest pet, the body notifies us of when it is hungry, tired, or in any other state of animalistic need as we continue to observe the information given to us by our senses, thoughts, and emotions. As the brain does its best to perceive what is going on around us, giving us sight, sound, taste, etc., the attention of our awareness is pulled towards the body, and over time, it seems that we have been led astray from who we truly are, the observer within the body, that works WITH the body, not AS the body. Surely you are only in control of the movement of your body. It is possible to control the mind, but it takes practice, and that is my point here, if you would like to see for yourself then keep your body still… easy right? Now, keep your mind still for a minute… not so easy is it? That right there is just it. YOU are in control of ONLY the movement of the body, it is your vehicle! Your vessel! This YOU is the gardener, the observer, the blank canvas. It is you that must take control. So with this in mind, I would like to call your attention to the enemy at hand.
As the open awareness within, the nothingness if you will, I dare to say that the enemy was never anything but your own perception of thoughts, senses, and emotions. The body is telling you it is scared, angry, or whatever it is at the time, and it is strong, very strong. It is like an elephant that you must tame and learn to control if any inner peace is ever to be obtained. Within a society so centered around the modern ideals of success and money, we are forgetting that the entire point from the very beginning was just to be. All negativity ever in the world was caused by negative emotions, the elephant running free and powerful and of its own accord. Anger, jealousy, pride, pain, and everything else that made one feel different than another or feel the need to be better than the next, these things and our loss of control over them are what cause the suffering felt by ourselves and felt by others. Being led on by culture and society, told that this is this and that is that, we are strayed from the understanding that we were all just the gardeners of our own minds the whole time. It is in this light that we are able to say, “I am happy for him,” instead of saying, “I wish I was him,” because you and they are not different, you are the same, you are both the observer, it is only your vessel that was ever different. It was only your environment that was ever different. It was never the two of YOU that was any different.
With these things in mind I conclude by giving you a suggestion, an exercise if you will. Practice this. Practice being the observer. Take a minute to sit alone each day and watch as your thoughts enter the mind without your approval. Do not feel harsh towards them, they are your bodies thoughts. YOUR bodies thoughts, and feelings, and emotions, and needs, and so on and so forth. Be vigilant with your introspection, and the next time you see anger rising, or depression setting, or anxiety ramping or whatever it may be, remind yourself that these are signals from the body, information to the blank canvas that you are, and react accordingly, from the non-bias that you have always been, using the vehicle of the body. Feed your body healthily, as your pet, and speak to others with the awareness that you are gaining as you begin to understand the separation of body and mind. Lead by example when words cannot teach or are unwanted, and feel nothing but compassion when you see people caught up in being their negative emotions instead of being the guardian of their own minds, the guardian that is rooted in the awareness that holds hands with nothingness. Without bad, there could not be good, and without nothingness, there could not be everything. We are the nothingness that has the chance to experience everything, it would be beneath who we really are to fall into our emotions and lose out on the chance given to us by our awareness. This is where the compassion of Buddhism is rooted. Once body and mind are separate, the mind is thereby free from the sufferings of the body, and looks down upon the body to care for it, and looks out from the body to care for all things that are caught inside the influences of suffering. Take just a few minutes and concentrate on the breath, or the noises or smells going on around you, and just be aware. It is not easy to master your own mindfulness, and everyone must do this in their own way, but with effort and alertness towards the battle, it can nonetheless be won.
It is better to be a warrior in a garden than to be a gardener in a war.
Thank you for reading today’s entry and make sure to check back! Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments that you may have. Peace and love friends!