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Woman Practicing Meditation

The Power of our Minds

Lately I have found myself inspired by reflecting on the power of our minds. And the teaching that each of us has the capacity to awaken and become a Buddha. That Buddha is actually our inherent nature already, here, now.

A practice Thich Nhat Hanh has offered is to call on the Buddha in us to come and help us when we don’t know what to do. He tells the story of being in Korea in 2003, in the demilitarized zone, leading a Peace Walk to encourage greater communication and understanding between North and South Korea. After giving instructions on walking meditation and mindfulness, he was to lead the walk. In front of him was a tightly packed sea of journalists with their cameras and microphones. He felt stuck. He didn’t know how he was going to walk when there was literally no space in front of him. In that moment he asked the Buddha in him for help. He released his resistance to the moment and instead surrendered. He asked the Buddha to walk for him. He took one step after another, solidly, peacefully, and a path opened up effortlessly between the cameras for him to walk.

We can really trust in the capacity of our minds, whose nature is awakening. This is true for each one of us, no exceptions. I was recently co-teaching on a retreat for people of color. We had twice as many people come than we were expecting so it meant a lot of extra work the first night to get everyone settled and organize ourselves. (We didn’t have a retreat manager). I didn’t have time to prepare for the talk I was to give the following morning. That next morning, in meditation, I sat there quite blank and then worried, unsure of what I would share in just a few hours. I asked the Buddha in me to help. I asked, “Buddha, could you please give this talk for me?” And I gave all my attention to my breath, my body and the meditation. I relaxed, not worrying, staying present. Ideas soon arose that were clear and useful for what I could share in the talk. I became enthusiastic and energized that I had the privilege to share something. And the talk went fine.

I recently listened to a dharma talk by Ven. Thubten Dongdrub, on The Potential of Mind. He shared that the mind is the one thing that doesn’t decay and can’t be destroyed, unlike so many things that are impermanent, that we can’t take with us from one life to the next. The mind is pure, powerful, it keeps whatever we invest into it, and faithfully returns this investment back to us. Nothing we do to cultivate our mind in the direction of freedom and compassion is ever wasted. 

We can all use our time wisely to invest in ourselves and in our minds. The mind is so precious. This human life is so precious. Each day we can do something to help the Buddha in us manifest more fully.

I recently participated in the Commit to Sit fundraising through iBme (Inward Bound Mindfulness Education), which offers retreats for teens, young adults and adults. We committed to sit every day in the month of May to raise money for the scholarship fund, as no teen is ever turned away for lack of funds. It was very energizing to commit to this and really stick to it. The momentum of knowing many others were doing this with me was inspiring. Now we are into June and I have effortlessly and without any special planning continued to naturally sit every morning. Though I sat most days before this Commit to Sit month, since doing it more intentionally and where I was accountable to others, it now feels easier and really good. There’s not any sense of pushing or cajoling myself to do it. A real return on my investment! 🙂

Wishing you energy and ease as you invest in your wondrous mind and the Buddha nature in you.