To find peace, we need to be freed from a troubled mind. A troubled mind is constantly worrying and vexing. One seems to be helplessly buried in unpleasant concerns. It is like a warzone in our head or a tunnel that leads to more pain and anguish. Sometimes, it feels like our mind is being “tied up” by the various concerns and worries. Negative emotions and thoughts arising one after another, making us sick to the stomach.
In Buddhist practice, we want to be freed from all these useless worrying and vexing. To do that, we have to train our mind and stop it from worrying. One direct method is meditation. We train our mind to be focused instead of wallowing helplessly in worrying thoughts.
Besides strengthening our mind through mind-training techniques such as meditation or chanting, we also need to equip ourselves with wisdom. Wisdom can be developed by learning and contemplating the Dharma. For example, when we learn about impermanence and its inevitable consequences, we gradually learn to let go of many things in life. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. Instead it refers to a lessening of cravings and aversions. Thus, things in life no longer bother us that much and they appear inconsequential or trivial. For example, a Buddhist master is equally happy sitting on a high throne or on the floor. On the other hand, the unenlightened disciples fight each other to decide an appropriate color for his cushion!
In another example, when we learn about the illusionary self or non-I, we also reset our perspective in life. Instead of being burdened by a self and asking “What is the purpose of my life?” We simply live and let live. By doing so, a heavy burden is unloaded from our mind and we learn to experience and enjoy our life as it is.
In another example, when we learn to trust Buddha Dharma we also learn to stop worrying too. By believing in the path of enlightenment, we develop a sense of security that life will ultimately become better if we do the right thing. If not this life, then perhaps the next one?
As you can see, there are various methods and ways for us to balance our mind. Buddhist wisdom gives us that skilled perspective to be freed from unnecessary worrying. Ultimately, it is about finding that peace and ease of existence in our life, Happiness.
All the above is about shifting our perspectives and be freed from concerns with the “8 winds”. They are called “winds” because they fan the fire burning our mind. A poetic way to describe things troubling our mind. Here’s the 8 winds.
(1) Favorable – profit or gains; Obtaining things that we desire and getting rid of what we hate
(2) Unfavorable – losing things that we like and receiving what we hate
(3) Fame – a good reputation that attracts favorable; being loved, treasured, desired, cherished and etc.
(4) Infamy – a bad reputation that attracts unfavorable; Being hated, disregarded, undesired, abandoned and etc.
(5) praise – getting favorable recognition, affirmation of our sense of being
(6) scorn – getting unfavorable recognition, rejection of our sense of being
(7) pleasure -agreeable experiences
(8) pain – disagreeable experiences
If we look at the above and reflect upon our life, we discover they “drive” our daily life or sense of purpose. We crave for (1), (3),(5) and (7) while being adverse to (2),(4),(6) and (8). Consequently, we are troubled by them and are full of worries. Buddhist wisdom teaches us how to see them in a balanced perspective.
That way, our mind will not be swayed or troubled by them and we experience a balance untroubled mind. An ease of living. An inner peace. A happier life.
In summary, inner peace needs practice. We practice to shift our perspectives in life and we practice to rein in a troubled mind. Only then, can we find our peace within. This year 2020 has been full of worries and anxieties for many of us. Therefore, it is important for us to learn and develop our method to cope with it.
May all be well and happy.