Chapter 9: Seated in the Cave of the Heart
And once you become aware that you are the cause of your own misery, things start changing. You no longer help your own misery, you no longer feed it. And once you become aware that you are not your mind but a witness to it, you start rising above the mind, you are no longer tethered. You start growing wings, you start soaring higher and higher. Mind remains always groping in the dark valleys of life, but you can become an eagle, you can soar high. You can be the master and then you can use the mind - and it can be used very purposely.
These sutras are how to become the master of your mind. They contain the science of becoming the master.
As the fletcher whittles
and makes straight his arrows,
so the master directs
his straying thoughts.
Now meditate: are your thoughts directing you, or do you direct your thoughts? - because much depends on that insight. Are you being dominated by your thoughts? Do they go on driving you hither and thither? Do they suggest to you, do they fascinate you, do they obsess you? Do they pull your strings and you are simply a slave? Or are you the master and you can say to your thoughts “Stop!” and they have to stop - can you put them on or off?
People never meditate over it because it makes them feel very humiliated. It shows them their impotence: they cannot even stop thoughts, their own thoughts.
There is a famous Tibetan parable:
A man served a master for many, many years. The service was not pure; there was a motivation in it. He wanted a secret from the master. He had heard that the master has a secret: the secret to do miracles. With this hidden desire he was serving the master day in, day out, but he was afraid to say anything. But the master was continuously watching his motivation.
One day the master said, “It is better that you please speak your mind, because I am continuously seeing a motive in all the service that you do for me. It is not out of love, certainly not out of love. I don’t see any love in it and I don’t see any humility in it. It is a kind of bribery. So please, just tell me, what do you want?”
The man was waiting for this opportunity. He said, “I want the secret of doing miracles.”
The master said, “Then why did you waste your time for so long? You could have said it the very first day you had come. You tortured yourself and you tortured me too, because I don’t like people around me who have motives. They are ugly to look at. They are basically greedy, and greed makes them ugly. The secret is simple - why didn’t you ask me the first day? This is the secret.”
He wrote down a small mantra on a piece of paper, just maybe three lines: “Buddham sharanam gachchhami, sangham sharanam gachchhami, dhammam sharanam gachchhami - I go to the feet of the buddha, I go to the feet of the buddha’s commune, I go to the feet of the dhamma, the ultimate law.”