Ocean waves

Jon Kabat Zinn drawing attention to the normal way the mind is, which we come to notice especially when we start meditation practices.

“… the first thing you notice is how impossibly jumpy the mind is… it is very hard to pay attention to any one thing for any period of time because the mind is so agitated that it distracts itself virtually moment by moment. It doesn’t need outside distractions… And this is totally normal. Everybody experiences this as soon as they start paying attention. And then you think ‘Oh my goodness! I could never meditate because my mind is like a train wreck.’ But the fact is everybody’s mind is like that…”

Another description he uses is that the mind is like the ocean. It can be agitated by the waves and the activity on the surface, but deep down below the surface is calm and peaceful. What begins to happen in our mindfulness meditation practice is that we are able to drop below this surface movement and experience brief moments of tranquility. Over time, and with practice, these brief moments of tranquility become more extended.

Each meditation practice is a journey of discovery to understand the basic truth of who we are. In the beginning the most important lesson of meditation is seeing the speed of the mind. But the meditation tradition says that mind doesn’t have to be this way: it just hasn’t been worked with.

What we are talking about is very practical. Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. And because we are working with the mind that experiences life directly, just by doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

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