Having a Calm and Still Mind

What is the most important attribute that will get us through any situation in best ways possible?

Over time, I have come to reach the answer of the question, and that is composure. I will relate the answer to Zen/Buddhism’s promotion of finding the stillness in mind, a imperturbable sense of calmness through continuous self-examination and self-discovery. Just a reminder that I am not preaching philosohy or religion, instead, I am stating something that has worked well for me and I believe in now.

I can still feel angry, disappointed, sad, happy, estatic, but I have come to realize that whatever emotions and feelings I may get, there is a stillness in my mind that can be kept. My mind is a part of my entity. Those emotions are not. And with a calm mind, I can maintain my awareness, assess the situation, and come up with the best way to respond or to handle those emotions. Some simple examples (taken from my personal experience):

  • If you play basketball for a long time, fatigue starts to build up and your shots are becoming more inaccurate and your body becomes less coordinated, would it do you any good to fret and get scared to take shots?
  • If you are a singer, half way into a song, gone over the most difficult part, and all the singing muscle becomes really tense, would it do you any good to panic and start thinking about not hitting the right pitch?
  • If you are to present in front of some very important individuals, in school or at work, would it do you any good to get so nervous and studder through the presentation?

As smart as you all are :) the apparent answer to all those are, “No, it is best for us to remain as calm as possible in order to make it through the situation with best possible performance.” I am not saying we should never be nervous because that is not possible, as I get nervous myself too! But staying calm and keeping a still mind will allow us to deal out the best cards we can at those moments, albeit subpar. It could only be worse if you get nervous, panic, and have a mental break-down.

In other words, there is no reason for us to fret or panic about anything. The only thing panicing will do for us is to make matters worse. Even if the situation is desperate, dire, and nothing can be done to help, we can reason that everything will come to pass in life, which is the truth. Why should we panic, fret, and worry ourselves to death? Just aim and do our best possible with support of a calm and still mind.

The quote provides the most suitable description of what I just mentioned:

“When the mind begins to become still, we then begin to truly see it. When you first try to stabilize and pacify the mind, initially it will become very busy because it’s not accustomed to being still. In fact, it doesn’t even necessarily want to become still, but it is essential to get a hold of the mind to recognize its nature. This practice is extremely important. … Eventually you will find yourself in a state where your mind is clear and open all the time. It is just like when the clouds are removed from the sky and the sun can clearly be seen, shining all the time. This is coming close to the state of liberation, liberation from all traces of suffering. … The truth of this practice is universal. It isn’t necessary to call it a religion to practice it. Whether one is a Hindu or a Moslem or a Christian or a Buddhist simply doesn’t matter. Anyone can practice this because this is the nature of the mind, the nature of everyone’s mind. If you can get a handle on your mind, and pacify it in this way, you will definitely experience these results, and you will see them in your daily life situation. There is no need to put this into any kind of category, any kind of “ism.” Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche

So remember, you can be nervous, you can be angry, you can be overjoyed, but maintain a still mind that will help you get through any situation the best way possible.

Originally posted 2007-04-25 23:17:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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