Friday, April 14, 2006
"You tell me to stand still, but I am not walking," he shouted, "whereas you who are walking say you are still. How is it that you are standing still but I am not?"
The Buddha turned round. "My legs move but my mind is still," he said. "Your legs are still but your mind moves all the time in a fire of anger, hatred, and feverish desire. Therefore, I am still but you are not."
Stillness of mind does not come easy to me.
My husband says I am a bit of a "Type A" personality: goal-oriented, serious, etc. In my pursuit of doing the right thing and doing it well, I tend to think myself into a tizzy. "What if...? If only I had..." You know what I mean.
In the last two years I have learned to recognize these twitchy, anxious "habit energies" (Thich Nhat Hanh's term) and steer my thoughts towards calmer, more wholesome thoughts. I still feel the habit energies, and feelings of worry and self-criticism still bubble up from time to time, but I have learned ways to control my thoughts, rather than let them control me.
Interestingly, meditation is a way to practice calming my native habit energies, and the more I practice finding stillness, I improve my zazen sessions and the overall level of happiness in my daily life.