June 23, 2006

Turning the Mind into an Ally

I never considered my mind to be my enemy. My brother (the true technophile) just sent me a quote attached to his signature line: "I think that technologies are morally neutral until we apply them. It's only when we use them for good or for evil that they become good or evil." -William Gibson. I don't know who William Gibson is or was, but I think this statement applies to the mind. It is just a tool.

I am reading "Turning the Mind into an Ally" by Sakyong Miphan Rinpoche. It is very good. I can see much of myself in the chapters on boredom and laziness. Especially laziness.

People don't believe me when I say I'm lazy. I am a full time student and work two jobs. They don't realize what I'm really trying to do I escape my own laziness; to hold it at bay. I'm afraid that if I don't over-schedule my time, I'll spend it camped out on the couch doing nothing at all. Which I've proven over the last few weeks by spending my evenings reading and watching Friends and doing almost nothing else. If I make a commitment to other people, a teacher, a boss, a friend, my honor compels me to keep it.

Even then, I'm constantly searching for the ways to do things with least effort. I've never had a job in my entire life that was able to keep me occupied for all the hours I was there. I suppose that is where the boredom comes in. Sometimes there are things I could do, but simply can't compel myself to do. After all, if I do that now, what will I have to do tomorrow? Procrastinate, that's what. I probably shouldn't worry so much considering things do get accomplished. My bosses have good opinions of me, I get good grades, and I'm well known among my friends for always being early.

The Sakyong's book draws a very clear picture of the mental processes of boredom and laziness, of which I am intimately familiar. However, he also describes detailed remedies. He illustrates a clear view of what is at stake and describes how to practice right effort and maintain mindfulness. He never says it will be easy. There are no false reassurances here and I appreciate that.

It is hard, but when I dwell on exactly how hard it is, I feel myself falling into the mindset of a whiny child. Then my natural "get over yourself" instinct rises up and bitch slaps that child up the side of the head.

And the meditation continues.

No comments: