At the end of a retreat in Malaysia earlier this month, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche spoke about how working with our mind is a way of helping others, how to make kindness a regular practice, and how to overcome the obstacles that prevent us from doing what we can to help.
Getting to know our mind is not only good for enlightenment. It is also helpful in dealing with our relative life.
When we recognize our mind we say, “Oh, my mind is like this.” Then as we deal with various challenges in our life––when confusions or emotions come up––we can recognize, “Oh yes, this is how my mind is. My mind has this tendency toward emotion and confusion. So I have to be careful.” Or, “My mind has this tendency of not paying attention to detail.”
This kind of thing might come up regarding your car key or your house key. Maybe you have a special place for all your keys. Then it is easy to keep that place very clearly in mind, “I put my keys here every day when I come home.” If you have a special place, then every day when you arrive home, you put your car key and your house key in the same spot. When you’re ready to go out again, your keys are right there. It’s a very simple kind of mindfulness, a very simple thing you need to remember to do.
On the other hand, when you don’t do that, you cannot find the key you want. If you’re looking for your car key, you may have to go through your whole clothes closet to find it. Is it in this jacket? No. That jacket? No, it’s not in that one. After all that searching, you still cannot find it and you end up having to borrow another key. A few weeks later you find your keys in a pocket you didn’t check. So much trouble!
So we need to see that even paying a little attention, a few minutes’ attention, taking a few minutes to look at our mind, can help us so much in everyday life. Like taking a few seconds to simply take the key out of your pocket and put it on its usual spot on the table where you will be able to find it again.