Introduction to Insight Meditation
by Venerable Sujiva
Magic of the Mind
Magic can be broadly classified into two types: White and Black. We are not talking about skin color but of mental states. Mental states are called dark or black when they are enshrouded by delusion with regards to reality. For example, in a fit of temper one is oblivious to the goodness of the other party, just as one obsessed by craving is blind to the faults of the thing he wishes to possess. Such states, as you can see, will finally lead to no good.
Mental states, on the other hand, are described as bright or white when they are pure and clear. You can experience freshness and radiance when you are mindful and at peace. It is not difficult to understand why happiness follows such people, like a shadow that never seems to leave them.
The mind is indeed a magician’s box. Out of it come things beyond your comprehension. You may liken it to a television set, a computer, a transistor radio and more – all in one. When everything is in order then you can have all the fun you want, but if it gets out of hand, then it’s the gates of Hell opened wide.
You may be acquainted with what kids play with nowadays – video games. They put you into all sorts of situations, ranging from participating in the World’s Grand Prix, or fighting aliens, to saving damsels in distress. You are even given a choice of vehicles, lethal weapons and who you want to be. The idea is to overcome all obstacles, shoot down all alien ships and collect the most points. However, if you do not happen to be like one of those whiz kids who have spent hours without end fiddling those buttons with nimble fingers, then you are more like a born loser. But it’s all right, it’s all a game, and with some practice you’ll acquire the skills. Also, it won’t be long before they come up with 3-D video games.
Life is something like that, with the mind creating situations, but the trouble here is that you can’t switch it off whenever you are tired. You can’t consider getting cancer a nice game to play, can you? Nor is becoming a schizophrenic or neurotic much fun.
Even suicide will not be an answer to it all. The mind, we are told, will lead you to a worse nightmare.
How, you may ask, does this happen?
The Mind is a complex of forces, or some may prefer to call them energies. Try to sit quietly and watch your thoughts and you will see them at work. It is endlessly trying to create new situations, real or otherwise, and respond to them. It is unfortunate that many don’t bother to take a good look at the machinery, and hence all those problems, problems, problems! It is there that you have all those powers, answers and the fountain of joy.
Although the whole thing can be complicated, it is not too difficult – with some useful tips on the main points of control – to make this magic box work for you.