I felt a sea of sorrows today.
I felt a sea of sorrows today.
It went on for some time, then I remembered there are stories in the Buddhist Suttas of disciples experiencing the exact same doubts and negativity I was experiencing this morning. Including the Buddha himself on the night of his enlightenment, where in the first part of the night, his mind was pummelled by dark thoughts and energies in an attempt to put him off his quest for awakening. Described in the sutta as the armies of Mara.
Mara could be a metaphor for the defilements in the mind that we all have to face when walking the spiritual path to freedom. But Mara could also well be a real force out there. Something I won't discount, as sometimes I feel like he takes over the minds of other beings to get at me.
'I see you Mara.' I say out loud. And it seems to work. The dark thoughts stop.
Then I notice in their place there are thoughts of wanting to get high, and a strong craving for intoxicants, the wish to indulge in sense-pleasures. 'I see you Mara.' I say again. And the craving fades.
Then I start feeling pleased with myself for getting rid of Mara, for sweeping him out of my mind with the broom of my awareness. 'My mindfulness is getting pretty sharp' I thought to myself. And I felt a swell of pride. Then an 'Aha!' moment when I realised, once again I am being caught out by his clever tricks. This is the craving for becoming, bound up with the conceit I am.
'I see you Mara.'
I reasoned back, that even the Buddha himself with all his supernormal powers couldn't save the world. Wars still happened, people still did wicked things to one another, natural disasters still happened, ageing, sickness, death, and loss still happened. I can't stop that. Nobody can. I can't save the world, I can't save anybody. We each have to save ourselves, that's the only way it happens. Nobody saves anyone. There are guides and teachers who can show us the way, tell us how they did it. But ultimately, we are the ones who have to put in the work to free our minds. We each have to be our own refuge. Learn how to be our own teacher.
So what if others judge me. I am not perfect. We all make mistakes. Nobody can honestly put their hand up and say they have never done anything wrong.
For too long have I let sorrow exist in this mind. And it does no good. It does not bring liberation from suffering, or make anything better. It doesn't benefit me or other beings. It is a destructive and dangerous energy. And I am determined to uproot it from my mind for good. However long it takes.
We etch patterns
On the island shores
Of one another’s minds.
And here, on this island far away
I see you sorrow
Hold you in my heart.
And in my mind,
With warm karuna
I reach out across the land
Across the great sea.
To hold your hand.
Like a gentle breeze
To lift you up.
May you feel supported.
May you never feel alone.
May the devas, the angels protect you
And always keep you safe.
May you feel loved.
May your heart be filled with a golden peace.
And may this metta wave
all your sorrow and grief.
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