The Natural Mind

Nearly all of us are lost in the stories that go on in our minds. Mindfulness is the capacity to step back and begin to deconstruct the movie: to see it without reacting. If we do this patiently, honestly and courageously, we begin to see thoughts are only real because we invest our attention in them. They come and go, like waves, and disapear by themselves if we don't hold onto them. The real Mind cannot be found - just because we are it. We create an image of ourself which is constantly on the run - running away and running after. If we have the courage to face our fear and not invest in blind hope, we may be fortunate enough to be the knowing. Then we may find, as the 12th century Chan master Hongzhi Zhenjue writes:

"Silent and still, abiding in itself; just like this—in suchness, it is apart from conditioning, where luminosity is vast and spacious, without any [emotional] dust—directly [the self] is thoroughly relinquished. Arriving at this fundamental place, one realizes that it is not something newly acquired. From the ancient home before the great kalpa, (aeons) there has been utter clarity without any obscurations; in its liveliness and readiness, it shines alone. Though it is like this, it is not realized without enacting it. (engaging it in practice) Precisely in the process of enacting it, the direct teaching is to not give rise to a single thing, not to allow a speck of dust to cover it. In this great rest where [vexations are] dried up and frozen, there is vast and penetrating understanding. If this resting cannot thoroughly exhaust [vexations] and one wishes to reach the realm beyond birth and death, there can be no such place! Just directly penetrate through. One will then resolve [this matter] thoroughly without the dust of conceptual thinking.  Being pure, there are no conditioning speculations. Take a backward step and open your grasping hands. Thoroughly resolve this matter. Then, your ability to put forth light and respond to the world will be appropriate—merging with myriad objects, just right, on all occasions."