“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Saturday, July 19, 2014


When we say or when the Buddha said watch the mind, the word he used or that was conveyed in the suttas is Citta, remember he didn't hatch out of an egg alone and invent this stuff, he worked with the culture and understanding of the time which was rich and already incredibly ancient and profound in understanding.

Citta means heart-mind to be more clear. In western cultures at least since Descartes we have separated the two and raised mind alone to to great heights on a pedestal of our own making. Heart has been denigrated in our culture, heart was thought female, foolish, emotional, flighty (there is a flight of hummingbirds at the feeder in front of me right now) but the Buddha spoke of the two as one.

So when we watch the mind we are also watching the heart and realizing there is no distinction, we reassemble an essential element of our being which has been damaged by cultural tinkering. Culture affects our underlying unspoken assumptions which are reinforced by silence around them. The elephant in the room that continues to grow until the entire house bursts. {Was this an expected element of the warp and woof of time in other words did the Buddha anticipate we would need this information to heal the damage caused by those periods of time in our culture when denial is promoted by greed and anger?} Note he didn't say watch thinking, he used a more general term, a deliberately inclusive term. Inclusive of feeling, perception, consciousness as well as labeling, judging, selecting, planning.

This is a very important part of mindfulness, it is what gives thinking flavor, temperature and texture. We can choose to watch as if there were two halves - heart and mind or we can observe the whole. Either is fine but awareness is essential. We don't choose or direct what is going on but observe and gather insight and enjoy what we observe. We don't decide to breathe and similarly we don't direct our thoughts/feelings/perceptions, we just observe. This enables the detachment and the split second of time in which we can choose our actions and be aware of our impulses to react and the roots of those impulses.

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