Slowing Down the Busy Mind

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

Slowing Down the Busy Mind

[From a Morning Reflection, June 2013]
Even when we live in a monastery, the mind tends toward busyness and proliferation. This is a natural habit of the human mind. We can make ourselves conscious of that—not through a force of will, trying to squelch or annihilate it—but through understanding the mind’s natural habits and the tendencies we carry with us. We can work with them in a skillful way.

For instance, the mind tends toward speeding up and gaining momentum. When that happens, we can consciously slow down and pay attention. Sometimes this means physically slowing down, not to the point of irritating everybody around us, but also not getting pulled into a sense that, “This is important. There’s not enough time. This has to be done now.” When we slow down, we can notice what happens, which is that we see things more clearly.

I’ve ridden in a car up and down Tomki Road to and from the monastery countless times. These last few months I’ve been walking on the road every day. It’s a very different experience than riding in a car. When we ride in a car, we might think we see or know Tomki Road quite well, but because we’re going so fast, we don’t really see things clearly. By slowing down and walking, I’ve been experiencing many more of the nuances and details of the road, and there’s more clarity as well.

It’s similar with the mind. We can learn how to slow it down, so that when we’re engaged in activity, we can better attend to what we’re doing. We slow down the impulse of getting swept up in the mind when it’s worried, when it’s proliferating or simply chattering away. Of course, it’s not necessary for the mind to chatter away like this, but as long as we’re able to distract ourselves with that sort of thing, we feel it’s okay. This is not a great program for a practitioner!

Instead, we encourage ourselves to slow down. In particular, when we’re not engaged with work or duties, we can slow down by using walking and sitting meditation. We consciously slow down by bringing attention and awareness to the nuances of sight, [sound], smell, taste, touch, mental objects, and to the nuances of body, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. Those things—the six kinds of sense contact and the five aggregates—are what we use to create the sense of self and “me” and to solidify our moods and impressions into habitual tendencies. So we slow down enough to see them clearly.

Learning how to slow down is quite simple, and it provides us with many direct and beneficial effects.

This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the book, Beginning Our Day, Volume Two, (pdf) pp. 97-98.

Repay the Blessings

อาจารย์ อมโร

Repay the Blessings

Along with developing gratitude towards our physical parents, the Buddha also encourages us to cultivate it in relationship to our spiritual teachers and with those who have helped us in our spiritual lives. This means gratitude to those who have taught us and introduced us to the liberating teachings. Thus, in a similar way, despite whatever shortcomings there might be in our teachers, and things…

Cultivating Gratitude

อาจารย์ อมโร

Cultivating Gratitude

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The Ineffable Realization of Truth

อาจารย์ สุเมโธ

The Ineffable Realization of Truth

There’s the view that we’ve passed the Golden Age when everything was perfect. Nevertheless there is this aspiration of the human heart for individuals, communities and nations to somehow get back to that perfect paradise on planet Earth, where everything is fair and just, beautiful and true and perfect for us. And while we can point to the mess we humans have made, we have to recognize that Mothe…

Eight Principles for Recognizing Dhamma and Vinaya

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

Eight Principles for Recognizing Dhamma and Vinaya

Shortly after her ordination, the Buddha’s step-mother Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī asked him for a short Dhamma-instruction that would guide her in her solitary practice. He responded with eight principles for recognizing what qualifies as Dhamma and Vinaya, and what does not. The commentary tells us that after her instruction, Mahāpajāpati Gotamī in no long time became an arahant. The eight principles ha…

With and Without Residue

อาจารย์ ถิรธัมโม

With and Without Residue

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What is the value of chanting?

อาจารย์ ชยสาโร

What is the value of chanting?

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Letting Go and Picking Up

อาจารย์ กรุณาธัมโม

Letting Go and Picking Up

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‘Buddho’, through Awareness

อาจารย์ สุเมโธ

‘Buddho’, through Awareness

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Enjoy Yourself and Delight in Practice

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

Enjoy Yourself and Delight in Practice

The Buddha says right from the get-go: enjoy yourself and delight in practice. Allow yourself to suffuse and fill, permeate and pervade this body. It’s interesting that the Buddha was very explicit, in all the instructions on the developing of refined states of meditative stillness, that there’s no dissociation from the body. They’re integrated as a body-mind experience. Throughout the instruction…