Lessons from Roy
Mountain Valley Retreat just finished its first four-day retreat. I invited Roy Dopson, a Canadian man I met years ago, to come and share his experience of life with us. Being with Roy has helped me to remember what is important to me. It has helped me to realize that I want to move in the direction of contentment. I understand that contentment is not dependent on any external condition or circumstance. It is within me. Happiness is within me. The path to happiness, to pure contentment, is through the letting go of thoughts that drive me to action, always seeking happiness through some external event or condition.
Thoughts arise. They are random. They are meaningless. They are simply chemical firings of the brain creating the experience of the senses. Thoughts are the mind’s attempt to prove its existence to itself.
Every movement of the mind, every thought, is a movement away from the Self.
Notice movement of the mind and ask yourself, “Who is doing the moving?” “Who is doing the thinking?” “Who am I?” “What am I? “I am.” “I.”
The “essential Self” is only found in the stillness of mind. The “essential Self” is before thought, before mind, the nameless, the potential that is “prior to” movement of mind.
“Step” in and out of stillness. Stepping out of stillness of mind is the engagement of mind for the purpose of serving the body. Serving the body is acting on movement of mind. IE: I want this…I don’t want that…I like this…I don’t like that…the mind measures everything it perceives. The mind is our sixth sense. It craves focusing on something, anything. For in that focus on something outside of itself, it affirms its existence. I am not that, therefore I am this. I think, therefore I am. The mind is constantly trying to prove its existence by comparing itself to everything it perceives through the five senses.
When you stop the movement of the mind, the mind turns in on itself. It moves from the duality of “I am this and you are that” to the oneness of “I am that.” Oneness is the source of all existence. Oneness is the essential Self, All that Is. Oneness needs nothing for it is Everything. All seeking stops. The experience of Pure Contentment arises. Bliss. Nirvana.
Practice sitting in stillness. Notice what is arising. Let it go. Invite the mind to stop. Notice without judgment. Give no thought any credibility. Remember that no thought has any value to the Self. Thoughts only have value to the ego and the body. They feed the belief in separation.
In the experience of duality (everything that is more than one) is polarity. For every yin there is a yang, for every high there is a low, for every happy there is a sad. There cannot exist one without the other. Living in duality is a constant roller coaster ride. It cannot be anything but this. We are up and down, in and out, pushing away, pulling toward, constantly in flux between this and that. As long as we allow the mind to run loose, life will be this way.
The other choice to become master of the mind. Choose when the mind is allowed to think and when it is still. When I gain control of a muscle through exercise and strengthening it, I choose when to engage it and when to relax it. Exercise and strengthen the mind through the practice of sitting in stillness and observing the mind. Choose when the mind can think and when it will be still. In stillness, experience the blissful state of pure contentment as the mind stops chasing the highs and running from the lows, endlessly seeking what can only be found when it stops seeking. The final paradox. Stop seeking and find that you have within you what you have been seeking. Liberation from suffering. Freedom.