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Zen's No-Mind Isn't Blank Mind



In Zen world, when we say, Mūshin... "no mind" or "no thinking" it's often misunderstood as a state of emptiness or absence of thought, as though we sit down on our meditation seat and our goal is to suppress thoughts from surfacing. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Hopelessly wrong!


I've seen more people give up on meditation because of this error than McDonald's serves cheeseburgers. As a result, there are too many empty seats in meditation halls, which has the effect of a lot of zombies running around in our society, because of an unhealthy relationship with the body's GPS system known as ego, creating problems for themselves and others.


No-mind... No-thinking... refers to attention free from being dragged by thought... analyzing thought... being entertained by thought... fantasizing with thought... not being lost and distorted in thought. It's not going for rides with the aspects of the mind re-litigating and replaying past experiences or plotting and planning against things we fear could happen in the future. It's literally sitting being... in one place... one body... one moment... one breath... in this one time of "Nowing," neither coming or going... "Just being here now," as Ram Dass used to say.


When we assume that just because something happened a certain way yesterday, it must be 100% the exact same way today... which has the tendency to freeze people, places, and things into unrealistic positions, in my experience that's a recipe for how to build resentment and by extension as to the artifacts of suffering within the museum of the mind it can build for itself.


One way to cultivate this "no mind" is to adopt a "don't know mind..." Fresh mind instead of freeze-dried mind. This means being open to the possibility that everything we think we know may be wrong or incomplete and approaching each situation with a curious and open mind. Releasing preconceived notions and judgments, we can more fully experience the present moment and the people we encounter.


Soren Kierkegaard's saying, "Once you label me you negate me," is also relevant to the experience of "no mind." When we label or categorize people, we limit our perception of them and ignore the complexity of their experiences. The "no mind" approach encourages us to see each person as a unique individual without preconceptions or judgments based on labels.


"No mind" approach allows us to be fully present with others and ourselves, without being burdened by past experiences or expectations. We can approach each moment with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder, fully engaging with the present rather than being held back by the past.


"No mind" meditation... "I'm sticking with the present moment meditation" can help us cultivate a healthy relationship with Reality, free from attachment to thoughts, able to judge without needing to be judgemental. In this Way, we have an opportunity to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually available to engage with ourselves and others in a more authentic way.


一We Are the Practice Itself


Calligraphy Note: 無心 | Mūshin | No Mind

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