Poor Little Mind

photo by Ray Collins

Sometimes we must pat our heads and be kind to the poor little mind that has been so earnest in its searching, so certain it was in charge, so frustrated in its failure to control the journey to freedom.  How long has it searched for the Mystery it could not know, banging at the door, demanding Truth, beseeching the gods, bargaining with its life, underlining books, counting breaths, fingering beads, chanting mantras, trying so hard to be holy?  How often did it imagine it was getting closer day by day to that “final” truth—you know, the one that is always just around the corner?

For years, if not lifetimes, it played in the sandbox of its dreams, sometimes sharing toys, or views, sometimes fighting over them.  It believed its thoughts were true.  Once, the world was flat, the sun orbited earth, and medicine’s highest offering were leeches sucking blood.  Today’s ideas can turn into tomorrow’s laughter.  Why not laugh now and celebrate the Mystery!

You have to love the folly, the frustration, despair, and defeat your mind has endured.  You have to laugh at the unbelievable arrogance of its “knowing.”  You have to feel compassion for the many times it imagined it had surrendered, was turned to ash, only to be resurrected from the fire.  How many times did it say to itself, “Now I’ve really got it!” only to sink later to “How could I have lost it?”

Poor bedraggled mind, playing with its concepts of truth, imagining it was the cat and truth was the mouse, instead of the other way around.  Struggling so hard to stay in control, to keep itself “safe” by maintaining its separation, all the while insisting Truth look a certain way!

And then, one day, perhaps after a very long struggle, it becomes desperate and utterly exhausted, like one who has been fighting a very long illness. It realizes that its addiction to itself was its disease.  It sees that all along it had been the “prey” and not the “hunter,” in the face of a Mystery it could not know.  It finally succumbs and sees its own limitation.  And, laying down its concepts at the door of the Unknown, it dissolves in its own naked and joyous freedom.

When it re-emerges, it knows its purpose was always to be the servant and not the god.

a series excerpted from The Altar of This Moment


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