Everybody is probably familiar with smart phone and apps. Some apps run sneakily in the background and guzzle our battery life without our knowledge. Don’t get me wrong. This article has nothing to do with our favorite gadget but, this introduction is important because it illustrates what I am going to discuss next.
Our mind is like the smart phone and our habitual discursive thinking is like that battery guzzling app. Buddhist mind training technique is like the software that manage and monitor the apps that are running in the background. Then put it to rest and save our battery life.
Discursive thoughts in Buddhism refers to that habitual tendencies for our mind to wander about with various thoughts, It digs into past memories or skip to fantasies. Sometimes it brings out random arguments or philosophical musing. All these mental activities actually wear our mind down. Thus, our mental capacity is not optimized.
We cannot concentrate. We feel mentally tired. We space-out. Worst of all, it affects our emotional well-being.
When we practice Buddhist mind training techniques that develop mindfulness and concentration; we are equipped with a mind optimizing app. We are better at catching our mind from delusive thinking. One simple mind training technique is mantra repetition. In this practice, we train our mind to focus on one mantra. Then repeat this mantra mentally throughout the day. In the beginning it is very difficult to keep that mantra in mind. But as we progress, it become habitual. This practice builds awareness and that prevents our mind from thinking unnecessarily. It’s like closing all the useless apps running in the background except for that one performance optimizing app.
That way, we can focus better on our daily tasks. Our mind optimizing skills becomes more advance as we practice.
This doesn’t mean Buddhism is anti-thoughts. There is always a time to think and once a conclusion is formed; we stop our mind from going into an endless loop that creates doubts, confusions, bewilderments and etc.
Happy practicing. May all be well and happy.