Losing control

“Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing” – Lama Gendun

When I started practicing Buddhism, I thought the point of meditation was to “quiet my mind” and make it shut up for a while, so I would sit on my pillow, stiff as a corpse, and I would try hard to remain still, and hush my thoughts.

It didn’t really work, I actually ended up angrier after those kinds of “meditations”.

Later on, my teacher explained to me that the point of meditation was not to freeze mental activity, but to observe it and let go, nothing else.
Sounds like a simple thing to do, right? At the time I thought it was no big deal, I just needed to quit being a control-freak which I thought would be pretty easy.

I was wrong, this instruction turned out to be a life project for me. I’m still working on it, 20 years later.

You can only gain serenity if first accept your inner chaos, your fears, your anger and the whole enchilada of cumbersome neurosis. There’s no controlling your mind if you don’t first come to peace with it. As it is, whether you like it or not, and it’s a hard thing to do.

I came to appreciate how that principle applies to most areas of human life: politics, relationships, jobs, and more particularly to oneself.
Whatever you want to change must be accepted first, as such. Long term changes won’t work otherwise.

Needless to say, this acceptance thing takes time, I don’t have any shortcut to share, in this article.

Only one more thing, maybe: is there still a point in changing the things you already accepted?

  • http://davidmashton.blogspot.com David Ashton

    Changing the things we have already accepted. I think we always have to be ready to change – everything else does. Makes me think of something a judge said – “It doesn’t appear to me now as it appears to have appeared to me then.” :)

  • Michael Kich

    I think it’s almost better to just skip philosophy and religion/mysticism, or maybe take a quick jog through it, and then skip right into comedy. I don’t know how to make the essence of what I want to communicate sound less harsh or less, well, depressing, because it is that too…life is absurd, and probably always will be. It’s like a crazy woman you get involved with, who 9 times out of 10 ends up pretty predictably fucking you over, but once in a while you manage to get laid with her, or you have a funny conversation while sitting on the couch across from your buddy that doesn’t have anything to do with the other circumstances, and things like that are nicely surprising. We never stop wanting the crazy woman to stop being in our lives and we never end up really getting what we want from her, because she’s just crazy, and that’s it. It’s like Occam’s Razor, usually the simplest explanation is what’s basically true. If you look around, poke around, and you keep coming back to the basic state of being like, “hummpph, I can’t seem to find a decent answer to my problem”, that’s probably because there isn’t any. :D Just sayin’…

    • Gaël Blanchemain

      Looking back, I can’t even see life as a crazy woman, seems to me there’s nothing to hold on to. I don’t like the idea, but that’s all I could conclude. I guess if sense can be made out of this chaos, I’ll have to make it myself!