The World Is Our Moods

Ajahn Chah

The World Is Our Moods

The world is our moods, our preoccupations. Our preoccupations are the world. If we aren’t acquainted with the Dhamma, aren’t acquainted with the mind, aren’t acquainted with our preoccupations, we grab onto the mind and its preoccupations and get them all mixed up. “Whew! My mind feels no ease.”

It’s like you have many minds, and they’re all in a turmoil. Actually, that’s not the case. You don’t have many minds. You have many moods and preoccupations. We’re not acquainted with our own mind, so we keep running after our preoccupations. If you sit meditating like that, things just keep running along in that way.

The Buddha taught us to look at things right there, right where they arise. When they arise, they don’t stay. They disband. They disband and then they arise. When they arise, they disband — but we don’t want them to be that way. When the mind is quiet, we want it to keep on being quiet. We don’t want it to get stirred up. We want to be at our ease. Our views are in opposition to the truth.

The Buddha taught us first to see these things all around, from all sides. Only then will the mind really be quiet and still. As long as we don’t know these things, as long as we don’t understand our moods, we become a moody person. We lay claim to our moods. This turns into stubbornness and pride.

When we see this happening, the Buddha tells us to turn our attention to contemplating right there: “This kind of thinking is thinking; this kind of knowing is knowing; when things are like this, they’re like this.” Tell yourself that these things simply follow their own nature. This is what moods are like. This is what the mind is like. When this is the way things are, what can you do to be at your ease? What can you do to be at your ease?

Well, just contemplate right there.

This reflection by Ajahn Chah Subhaddo is from the Thai Forest Ajaans book, Still Flowing Water, “In the Shape of a Circle,” translated from Thai by Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu.