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Understanding Our Mind

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I’ve been reading Understanding Our Mind for the past year, slowly trying to absorb the explanation about how our minds work (or mostly don’t work very well).  The Buddhist author suggests the practice of ‘mindfulness,’ which means seeing things for what they really are.  Since your mind is the vehicle through which you perceive things, you have to first understand how and why your mind distorts reality.  Then you can attempt to practice mindfulness and –with constant effort and focus– begin to change.

As I’ve started to pay more (but not enough) attention to how mind shapes perceptions, I’ve begun to realize how habit-driven my mind is.  My mind wants to lump things into simple categories because it’s convenient and easy, even if it also often leads to wrong perceptions.  Bad mind habits create clutter, physical as well as mental.  Why is it so easy for us to see the simple solutions to other people’s problems, but not our own?  The answer is simple, and yet difficult to understand. 

It helps to learn from someone who actually practices complete mindfulness.  But, even then, it’s still hard.


P.S. If you appreciate these kinds of observations, you might want to read this as well.

3 Comments

  • First time caller, long time listener. I thoroughly love your blog and its insights, Ernie.

    This post made me think of signature I once saw on an email,

    “I used to think my mind was the most important organ in my body, until I realized who was telling me that.”

    Regards.

  • Ray Ward says:

    I’ve got to get you started on some Anthony de Mello. A Jesuit born in Bombay, he successfully (I think) brought Eastern and Western spirituality together. His book “Awareness” says some things that are akin to your post. As for “Why is it so easy for us to see the simple solutions to other people’s problems, but not our own?,” he would probably cite Scripture: don’t remove the speck from your brother’s eye until you’ve first removed the plank from your own. I.e., Jesus would have been a good Hindu.

  • HPR says:

    Ernie:

    I’ve been reading various books by this monkfor the last several months and he is myfavorite “new” author. He has many titlesas you may know.