“Present me what you’ve got acquired, Māra!”

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Milarepa was a well-known Tibetan meditation practitioner and Buddhist instructor who lived from 1052 to 1135. He stated, “If you run after your ideas, you might be like a canine chasing a stick: each time a stick is thrown, you run after it. As a substitute, be like a lion who, somewhat than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One solely throws a stick at a lion as soon as.”

What a beautiful picture!

Your Thoughts Like a Canine

First, the thoughts being like a canine. Isn’t that so acquainted? Canine aren’t very reflective. Neither are we, more often than not. A thought seems in our minds, and our consideration goes chasing after it robotically. Like a canine chasing a stick, we pursue the thought, take it up, and chew it over.

In meditation, ideas come up very often, as a result of though a part of you intends to meditate and quiet the thoughts, different components of your mind are scanning your expertise to see if there are any threats to your well-being that have to be handled.

If, as is often the case, there’s nothing threatening occurring in your rapid expertise, these components of your mind will comb by means of recollections of issues that occurred prior to now, or have a look at your future itinerary, and search for issues that could be of concern. And so, for instance, you may dredge up an encounter the place your emotions acquired harm, and also you replay the occasions, usually in a number of methods, “workshopping” varied eventualities. Otherwise you may take into consideration one thing arising that’s possibly a bit scary, and begin imagining all of the issues which may go flawed.

You extra from a easy thought — possibly only a snippet of a dialog, or a snapshot picture — to a full-on drama.

Buddhism talks about this as prapañca, or “proliferation.”

Your Thoughts Like a Lion

However then there’s the lion. Your thoughts is sort of a lion when it sees the stick of a thought flying by, and as a substitute of chasing the stick, it turns towards the stick thrower. It lets the thought go. It acknowledges that an try has been made to distract it. It’s not taken in by that try. It’s inquisitive about what this entity is that’s making an attempt to govern it. And so it turns and appears.

The Stick Thrower

Who’s throwing the stick? In Buddhist phrases we’re again to Māra. Māra is a mythological personification of distraction. He’s the psychological trickster who desires us to be distracted and reactive. He desires us to chase the sticks he throws. Māra is that a part of us that’s at all times making an attempt to throw us off-balance.

Tips on how to Do This

Perhaps turning to face the stick-thrower isn’t one thing you’ve ever achieved. So learn how to we get began?

It could possibly assist to really feel the lion high quality of your thoughts. Consider a lion’s regular eyes. Its low growl. Its energy. Its fearlessness. Let these qualities fill your thoughts and your physique. Strive it proper now, as you observe the area of your thoughts. If you happen to’re something like me, it most likely feels fairly good.

So typically once I’ve seen my thoughts go chasing sticks in my meditation a couple of instances, I’ll flip towards the place the place ideas come from. And I’ll observe it, ready to see what occurs.

However then I’m going additional, and dare Māra​​​​ to tempt me.

See additionally:

Calling Out the Satan

I’ll say one thing like “Come on, Māra. Present me what you bought. Present me what you’re manufactured from.” After which I’ll simply watch, like a lion, and see what he comes up with. The watching is imbued with lion power — a way of energy, confidence, and braveness. I really feel this power in my physique as properly.

I can remind myself that the sticks, or ideas, are actually illusions. They’re not actual occasions that I’ve to cope with. They’re psychological fabrications.

Normally after a couple of of Māra’s sticks have flown previous me, my internal canine will make an look once more. And so I’ve to maintain on summoning the internal lion, and turning again to face the stick thrower.

And so I’ll say, as soon as once more, “Good one, Māra! Intelligent trick. Your phantasm fooled me that point. For some time. So, what else do you’ve got?”