January 29, 1964
Try keeping your awareness with the breath to see what the still mind is like. It’s very simple, all the rules have been laid out. But when you actually try to do it, something resists. It’s hard. But when you let your mind think 108 things, no matter what, it’s all easy. It’s not hard at all. Try and see if you can engage your mind with the breath in the same way it’s been engaged with the defilements. Try engaging it with the breath and see what happens. See if you can disperse the defilement with every in-and-out breath. Who is it that the mind can stay engaged with the defilements all day long and yet go for entire days without knowing how heavy or subtle the breath is at all?
So try and be observant. The bright, clear awareness that stems from staying focused on the mind at all times: sometimes a strong sensory contact comes and can makes it blur and fade away with no trouble at all. But if you can keep hold of the breath as a reference point, that state of mind can be more stable and sure, more insured. It has two fences around it. If there’s only one fence, it can easily break.
This reflection by Upasika Kee Nanayon is from the book, Unentangled Knowing, pp. 20-21.