Morning Intention: The Mind Is A Tool

** Morning Intention: To see the mind as a tool and to use it as such

The mind is like a knife. You have to keep it sharp, but you can’t use just any surface for a whet-stone. If you let the mind make contact with every random distraction that comes along, it will wear down and your ability to cut through delusion and perceive what is good for you will falter. So you need to choose carefully the thoughts and intentions that you allow the mind to make contact with. A lot of people think meditation is about stopping your thinking. But until you’ve reached high levels of concentration, the mind is going to work on some object or another, no matter what you do. The trick is to find the right object.

The breath is a perfect object to sharpen your mind with, because when you focus on it, the mind actually gains energy rather than losing it. But as everyone who’s ever tried to meditate knows, the mind doesn’t naturally stay with the breath. You need to think of the mind as a tool that you deliberate use on the breath. That means letting yourself think about breath. A good practice, whenever you find yourself wandering into distraction, is to remind yourself, “If I need to think, let me think about the breath.” Ask yourself: What kind of breathing would feel really good right now? and think about that. Once you realize that you can let the breath capture your imagination, it becomes a lot easier to be present.

So here’s the practice: Today, sit and focus on your breath. When your mind wanders, remind yourself, “I can think all I want, as long as it’s about the breath.” Try to develop curiosity about what’s happening. There’s so much to learn right here that will actually bring you ease and contentment. You don’t have to keep striking your blade again a concrete wall.

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