image

Dhamma Talks of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Ajahn Brahm: Give It Everything You've Got 1

Okay, so, like many of the people who were working hard for this Global Conference that I've been getting up very early in the morning, going to bed very late at night, rushing around all day and I'm sometimes surprised just how the mind can have such an effect on the body and how one can develop energy in one's life even when one is very busy. So the talk this evening is on the facts that the mind is the forerunner of all things and if one's mind is very sharp, you can have huge amounts of energy at your disposal.

It's one of the stories which I did write in my book “Open the Door of Your Heart”, which was a fascinating story because I never knew it happened until after I came back to Australia. A young man came from Sydney to tell me this. He'd said just before my teacher Ajahn Chah got sick, before he stopped teaching any more, he'd managed to find his way to Ajahn Chah's monastery. At this time my teacher was a very famous monk, so famous that it was very hard to even get close to him. But this young Australian man had travelled all the way from Sydney, found his way to Bangkok, found out how to get to Ajahn Chah's monastery in the far north-east, find out how to get from the town of Ubon to the small village Bahn Gor, where Ajahn Chah's monastery was, and eventually found his way to the monastery, which was about four kilometres outside of the village. And when he got to the monastery he had to find out where Ajahn Chah was. Eventually he found him, under his hut, as normal, talking to many many many people. So this man  from Sydney, this young man, who had come all this way to ask deep questions on Buddhism, to find out the answers to questions which had puzzled him for many years, very deep profound questions on the meaning of life and the path of meditation. He had all these questions ready, but as soon as he came into the presence of this great teacher Ajahn Chah, he realized his journey would have been in vain, simply because there was far too many people around Ajahn Chah, important people, business people, monks, generals, because by this time my master Ajahn Chah was a very very famous person, and soon he realized after sitting in this great crowd of people on the edge for about two or three hours, he soon realized there was no way that Ajahn Chah will be able to give him the attention he required to ask his questions. So the man got up despondent, having travelled all that way, having seen this old wise Buddhist master, but not being able to actually ask what he wanted to. He got off and went to go to the taxi waiting for him and as he was walking away he realized the taxi would not be there for another hour. He had some time to kill. So thinking if he can't ask the questions, at least he could make some good karma. He picked up a broom and started to sweep the grounds. He was sweeping for about quarter of an hour and then he felt a hand on his shoulder behind him. He turned around to find the owner of that hand was none other than Ajahn Chah, the great master, who had seen this Westerner, come from such a long way and not being able to ask any questions. But Ajahn Chah never had time to speak to him at length. All he did was say something in Thai and walk away. What he said was translated directly afterwards. The translator monk said, “Ajahn Chah said to you: If you're going to sweep the grounds, give it everything you've got. That's all,” and the translator monk went away.

If you're going to sweep, give it everything you've got. That seems such a simple lesson, but that man from Sydney took it back with him on the plane. He thought about it on the long journey back from this far remote north-eastern corner of Thailand, all the way back to his home in Sydney, where he lived. And he realized that a great master like Ajahn Chah was not just talking about sweeping leaves, he was also talking about life. What he was saying that whatever you do in your life, whether it's sweeping leaves, whether it's meditating, whether it's giving a talk, whether it's cooking a dinner or even writing a letter to the tax department, or to the inside cover of the West Australian what I did yesterday, whatever it is, give it everything you've got and don't do it half-heartedly. Don't even do it ninety percent, not even 99.9 percent, whatever you do, give it one hundred percent every time. If you're sweeping leaves, give it everything you've got.

That was what that Sydney man said he understood by Ajahn Chah's teachings and he said that's the only teaching he needed. He was a successful man in his business. He had a great relationship with his family and he had some very good meditation. Why? Because of that simple lesson: Whatever you do, give it everything which you've got, never 99.9 percent. And sometimes people think, well if I do that, I'd soon get tired, I'd soon lose my reserves of energy, but that's not how it works. When you give everything into this moment, you give it fully, you find you create more reserves of energy. There's a strange thing about tiredness and energy and where it comes from. Are just some people energetic or some people just tired? Why is it that sometimes that we can really put a lot of energy into whatever we do, but other times we feel we just can't do it? And it's just whether your mind is engaged with the task at hand. It's engagement which is the important thing. When you're only 99.9 percent, you are disengaging and because of that amount of negativity, it never really bites, the effect never really happens. But if you give it a hundred percent, you find that you create energy. And this is actually what I was surprised to read when I started looking into the Buddhist teachings given twenty-six centuries ago, where I saw that he said the word for Right Effort, one of the factors of the Eightfold Path, he said you initiate, you generate, you start energy. What do you mean you start energy? I know how to start a car. You know how to maybe start your computer. What do you mean by “start energy”? Where's the boot button for my mind and my whatever? But after practising a lot of meditation, I have been living this life so long, you understand where that boot-up button is, where you can actually start that energy. It starts in your mind where you start to engage in whatever is going on, giving yourself fully.

The problem is that sometimes when we hold back, when we're not really engaging. And one of the reasons why we hold back is because there's a negativity in the mind, there's a complaining mind. During the meditation which I was just teaching this last half hour there was a point in that meditation where my mind completely flipped. I was very tired to begin with and I was complaining. I was thinking poor me, why do I have to do this? I've been working all day, receiving guests, going into the rehearsals. All the other speakers they're gone back to their hotels or their monasteries and I am left here, holding the baby again. And this is the baby mike. And I was too tired. I don't want to meditate, I don't want to teach people, and of course that's when I was really tired. But I know enough about my mind now that when you have negativity, complaining, that's what saps your energy, that's what takes it away. That is where you have a leakage in the energy in your mind. And as soon as you block that leakage and you stop complaining, it's a great privilege to be in this moment, to be it, to be able to share a talk and you stop blocking that and it's incredible just sitting up here, there's huge amounts of energy started flowing in again. Never complain about anything. If you start complaining, you are losing energy, especially if you're tired. If you're tired that's the last time to complain, because your tiredness gets worse. If the negativity starts to increase and you go into this spiral of depression, negativity, complaining, anger and you know where that leads. But instead of complaining, “Why is this happening to me? This is not fair,” you can make use of what you have. Be there, embrace, and as soon as you embrace what you're experiencing, that's the boot-up button for the mind, then energy starts to flow. Why? Because you're giving yourself completely to this moment, not 99 percent, but a hundred percent to what just needs to be done. And that way you find that you have huge resources of energy, when you give to each moment, not holding back something for later. People who hold back for things for later, they're not really here, they're half in the future and they're not really engaging in this moment we call now and that's why that the energy levels go down down down down down. But if you put energy into this moment, the energy levels go up up up up up, and sometimes it just makes no sense at all to me physically why you can get so much energy.

One of the key experiences of my early life as a monk was when there was some junior monks who were about to be ordained as full monks, and at that time it was our tradition, if you're going to be ordained as a monk you have to make your own robes. And we have a set of three robes, an under robe, this robe and another spare robe. And to make those robes in the old tradition you just start with white cloth which you'd have to wash to get the starch and the grease out first of all and then you'd sew it, and this is a huge piece of cloth you have to sew in a certain way. And it takes about two or three days just to sew the robes, and then you have to dye them this brown colour. You know the reason why we have these a dark brown colour, so you don't have to wash them so often. The reason some monks, especially the Thai monks have the bright yellow robes, is usually because in Bangkok it helps the traffic see you so that you don't get run over by it crossing the road, that's all. But anyhow, it takes a long time to actually to make the dye and there's no shortcuts, you literally had to haul the water out of a well, you had to light a wooden fire under a big metal basin, boiling the water, and the dye came from the jack fruit tree. Old logs of jack fruit, with a machete you chipped them up into slithers to boil them down to get the sap out of them and it took hours just to get a little bit of sap out of these wooden chips and then you have to concentrate that sap down and only when you had this concentrated dye, could you put your white robes in them and to beat them and pummel them and then you'd dry them on the line, turning them every few minutes so the dye never streaked and then you put them in to put some more dye on, about three or four times before they became the correct colour.

It was hard work, time-consuming; it was like a test to see whether you really deserved to be a monk. And at this particular time there were three monks who were about to ordain. Actually one of these monks is now quite well-known, Ajahn Gowesako, the Japanese monk who has been here before. He's now got a monastery in Kanchanabery, in the East of Thailand, sorry, the West of Thailand; and he was one of those monks, and those poor monks, they'd already been up the night before, they hadn't slept for about forty hours, and you could see just how tired they were. So that evening, after the evening service, we did some chanting and meditation, which finished about nine, nine thirty, I went to the shed where they were busy working for another day another evening without sleep. And I told them, you guys go and take a rest, I will look after the dye pot all night for you, I will keep the fires stoked, I will chop up some more chips from the jack fruit tree, you just go and take a rest. And obviously they were just so thankful that they could actually take a break. If you'd been working constantly for about forty hours now you're just looking for sleep, there's a magnetic attraction from your pillow which can pull you from hundred metres away. You're so tired and these monks were that tired. I never needed to ask twice. As soon as I said I'll take over they were off like a shot to their rooms. And so I stayed up all night, working hard, and those days we used to have the bell at three o'clock in the morning for our wake-up call, and we'd all get up at three o'clock to do our morning chanting, and that morning chanting, even though we were very tired, it was usually (snoring sounds)… no that wasn't the real chanting, we used to actually chant in Pali, and then we'd meditate, and then about six thirty we'd go on our alms round.

Now usually in the morning I was tired for the chanting. At three o'clock the bell went, I went off to the chanting, those monks having slept came back to look after that job they were supposed to be doing all night anyway. But the trouble was, or the interesting part was, whereas when I'd slept, I was usually sleepy in the meditation. That morning, when I hadn't slept, I wasn't sleepy, I was perfectly alert, and even when I went on the alms round, my mindfulness was so strong. It was so strange because I never expected, having been up all night working hard and also throughout the whole day that I was not tired. It made no sense to me. I expected to be very sleepy, but I wasn't. And so I asked the monk who was the abbot there at the time, why have I got so much energy when I haven't slept for about twenty-four hours, more than that, thirty-six hours, and he told me, because you've been helping other people, because you've been doing some good karma, because all night you've been focussing, not on what you need or what you want, but on helping other people. When you make such good karma, putting everything in what you are doing, you always get huge resources of energy. And I proved that then, and I've proved that since, this making good karma is not just for something in the future life; it's a great way of developing huge resources of energy and the accompanying joy right now. People who work hard for a good cause, you find you can work harder when it's for some church, charity, Buddhist society, than you ever can when you're being paid by a company. Because you're doing it for another reason, for karmic reasons, for kindness, for care, for love or whatever. It has a different source and has a far different effect. And so because of that you can find these huge resources of energy, just from kindness and goodness.

But it's not just energy which you're building up. There's some part of Buddhism which is very rarely taught. It is that energy, it's happiness. And this lady has seen that I'm thirsty, so she's made, got some water and some orange juice, so she is not going to sleep tonight because she's creating so much energy.

It is any act of kindness and goodness does do that to you, you get energized, and that type of energy, the energy which comes from good karma, from kind action, from compassion, from selflessness, from not thinking about oneself and for helping others, that type of energy is a very happy energy. It's very different from a cup of coffee, which just gives you a boost of energy but which makes you shake physically. This is something which gives you energy and keeps you still and gives you lots and lots of inner happiness. The energy of the mind is happiness. Coffee gives you the energy for your body, but you're really borrowing stuff, so that if one does acts of kindness and goodness and puts everything in what one is doing, you find that you do have not just great sources of energy but also happiness as well. You get joyful, simply because you're engaging in that which is good and kind and wonderful and noble in life.

Once, now I've been doing this for so long now, any opportunity which I see of doing something kind and good for other people, you realize I'm going to take this because you know what the results are going to be: energy and happiness. And also there's another thing you should know. There's no limit to the energy which you can have, nor is there any limit to the happiness you can experience. So as monks we get into very high energy states and those high energy states are also high happiness states, which is why we learn how to meditate in a certain way. It doesn't matter what particular tradition of meditation you're using. What's most important in the training of the mind, just like in the practice you do in your body, you know with your work, whatever you do give it everything you've got, even when you're meditating, you focus everything on the task at hand, hundred percent in the moment, hundred percent in silence, hundred percent on the breath. When you have that degree of focus, one thing at a time, fully on what you're doing, you find that as you practice in your daily life, the way you've swept leaves is also the way you look at your mind. And then you find you have huge energies even in your meditation; but not energies which shake the mind backwards and forwards like coffee does to the body, it's not a wandering-mind energy, it's an energy which is poised and focussed in the moment.

Those of you who have been practising meditation know that degree of power. You know that it's impossible to fall asleep or get dozy. It's alright to get dozy I suppose, at least you're at peace, but it's nice to be there when you're at peace so that you can enjoy what is happening. The trouble is, too many people, when they get calm and peaceful, they just nod off, they're not really there to enjoy the amazing silence of the mind. But once one develops this ability to really focus and put the full mind's power in this moment, you find it does energize the mind, but with stillness as well, so you're focussed on this moment. When you're focussed in the moment, fully alert to what's happening now, energy starts to come, the mind starts to waken up.

You know what the word Buddha means, it means the Awakened One. It doesn't mean the sleepy one, the sloth and torpor one. It means a mind which is fully awake and alert, open to what's happening. With that degree of energy you get something which I've called power mindfulness.



Want to learn a language?


Learn from this text and thousands like it on LingQ.

  • A vast library of audio lessons, all with matching text
  • Revolutionary learning tools
  • A global, interactive learning community.

Language learning online @ LingQ

Okay, so, like many of the people who were working hard for this Global Conference that I've been getting up very early in the morning, going to bed very late at night, rushing around all day and I'm sometimes surprised just how the mind can have such an effect on the body and how one can develop energy in one's life even when one is very busy. So the talk this evening is on the facts that the mind is the forerunner of all things and if one's mind is very sharp, you can have huge amounts of energy at your disposal.

It's one of the stories which I did write in my book “Open the Door of Your Heart”, which was a fascinating story because I never knew it happened until after I came back to Australia. A young man came from Sydney to tell me this. He'd said just before my teacher Ajahn Chah got sick, before he stopped teaching any more, he'd managed to find his way to Ajahn Chah's monastery. At this time my teacher was a very famous monk, so famous that it was very hard to even get close to him. But this young Australian man had travelled all the way from Sydney, found his way to Bangkok, found out how to get to Ajahn Chah's monastery in the far north-east, find out how to get from the town of Ubon to the small village Bahn Gor, where Ajahn Chah's monastery was, and eventually found his way to the monastery, which was about four kilometres outside of the village. And when he got to the monastery he had to find out where Ajahn Chah was. Eventually he found him, under his hut, as normal, talking to many many many people. So this man  from Sydney, this young man, who had come all this way to ask deep questions on Buddhism, to find out the answers to questions which had puzzled him for many years, very deep profound questions on the meaning of life and the path of meditation. He had all these questions ready, but as soon as he came into the presence of this great teacher Ajahn Chah, he realized his journey would have been in vain, simply because there was far too many people around Ajahn Chah, important people, business people, monks, generals, because by this time my master Ajahn Chah was a very very famous person, and soon he realized after sitting in this great crowd of people on the edge for about two or three hours, he soon realized there was no way that Ajahn Chah will be able to give him the attention he required to ask his questions. So the man got up despondent, having travelled all that way, having seen this old wise Buddhist master, but not being able to actually ask what he wanted to. He got off and went to go to the taxi waiting for him and as he was walking away he realized the taxi would not be there for another hour. He had some time to kill. So thinking if he can't ask the questions, at least he could make some good karma. He picked up a broom and started to sweep the grounds. He was sweeping for about quarter of an hour and then he felt a hand on his shoulder behind him. He turned around to find the owner of that hand was none other than Ajahn Chah, the great master, who had seen this Westerner, come from such a long way and not being able to ask any questions. But Ajahn Chah never had time to speak to him at length. All he did was say something in Thai and walk away. What he said was translated directly afterwards. The translator monk said, “Ajahn Chah said to you: If you're going to sweep the grounds, give it everything you've got. That's all,” and the translator monk went away.

If you're going to sweep, give it everything you've got. That seems such a simple lesson, but that man from Sydney took it back with him on the plane. He thought about it on the long journey back from this far remote north-eastern corner of Thailand, all the way back to his home in Sydney, where he lived. And he realized that a great master like Ajahn Chah was not just talking about sweeping leaves, he was also talking about life. What he was saying that whatever you do in your life, whether it's sweeping leaves, whether it's meditating, whether it's giving a talk, whether it's cooking a dinner or even writing a letter to the tax department, or to the inside cover of the West Australian what I did yesterday, whatever it is, give it everything you've got and don't do it half-heartedly. Don't even do it ninety percent, not even 99.9 percent, whatever you do, give it one hundred percent every time. If you're sweeping leaves, give it everything you've got.

That was what that Sydney man said he understood by Ajahn Chah's teachings and he said that's the only teaching he needed. He was a successful man in his business. He had a great relationship with his family and he had some very good meditation. Why? Because of that simple lesson: Whatever you do, give it everything which you've got, never 99.9 percent. And sometimes people think, well if I do that, I'd soon get tired, I'd soon lose my reserves of energy, but that's not how it works. When you give everything into this moment, you give it fully, you find you create more reserves of energy. There's a strange thing about tiredness and energy and where it comes from. Are just some people energetic or some people just tired? Why is it that sometimes that we can really put a lot of energy into whatever we do, but other times we feel we just can't do it? And it's just whether your mind is engaged with the task at hand. It's engagement which is the important thing. When you're only 99.9 percent, you are disengaging and because of that amount of negativity, it never really bites, the effect never really happens. But if you give it a hundred percent, you find that you create energy. And this is actually what I was surprised to read when I started looking into the Buddhist teachings given twenty-six centuries ago, where I saw that he said the word for Right Effort, one of the factors of the Eightfold Path, he said you initiate, you generate, you start energy. What do you mean you start energy? I know how to start a car. You know how to maybe start your computer. What do you mean by “start energy”? Where's the boot button for my mind and my whatever? But after practising a lot of meditation, I have been living this life so long, you understand where that boot-up button is, where you can actually start that energy. It starts in your mind where you start to engage in whatever is going on, giving yourself fully.

The problem is that sometimes when we hold back, when we're not really engaging. And one of the reasons why we hold back is because there's a negativity in the mind, there's a complaining mind. During the meditation which I was just teaching this last half hour there was a point in that meditation where my mind completely flipped. I was very tired to begin with and I was complaining. I was thinking poor me, why do I have to do this? I've been working all day, receiving guests, going into the rehearsals. All the other speakers they're gone back to their hotels or their monasteries and I am left here, holding the baby again. And this is the baby mike. And I was too tired. I don't want to meditate, I don't want to teach people, and of course that's when I was really tired. But I know enough about my mind now that when you have negativity, complaining, that's what saps your energy, that's what takes it away. That is where you have a leakage in the energy in your mind. And as soon as you block that leakage and you stop complaining, it's a great privilege to be in this moment, to be it, to be able to share a talk and you stop blocking that and it's incredible just sitting up here, there's huge amounts of energy started flowing in again. Never complain about anything. If you start complaining, you are losing energy, especially if you're tired. If you're tired that's the last time to complain, because your tiredness gets worse. If the negativity starts to increase and you go into this spiral of depression, negativity, complaining, anger and you know where that leads. But instead of complaining, “Why is this happening to me? This is not fair,” you can make use of what you have. Be there, embrace, and as soon as you embrace what you're experiencing, that's the boot-up button for the mind, then energy starts to flow. Why? Because you're giving yourself completely to this moment, not 99 percent, but a hundred percent to what just needs to be done. And that way you find that you have huge resources of energy, when you give to each moment, not holding back something for later. People who hold back for things for later, they're not really here, they're half in the future and they're not really engaging in this moment we call now and that's why that the energy levels go down down down down down. But if you put energy into this moment, the energy levels go up up up up up, and sometimes it just makes no sense at all to me physically why you can get so much energy.

One of the key experiences of my early life as a monk was when there was some junior monks who were about to be ordained as full monks, and at that time it was our tradition, if you're going to be ordained as a monk you have to make your own robes. And we have a set of three robes, an under robe, this robe and another spare robe. And to make those robes in the old tradition you just start with white cloth which you'd have to wash to get the starch and the grease out first of all and then you'd sew it, and this is a huge piece of cloth you have to sew in a certain way. And it takes about two or three days just to sew the robes, and then you have to dye them this brown colour. You know the reason why we have these a dark brown colour, so you don't have to wash them so often. The reason some monks, especially the Thai monks have the bright yellow robes, is usually because in Bangkok it helps the traffic see you so that you don't get run over by it crossing the road, that's all. But anyhow, it takes a long time to actually to make the dye and there's no shortcuts, you literally had to haul the water out of a well, you had to light a wooden fire under a big metal basin, boiling the water, and the dye came from the jack fruit tree. Old logs of jack fruit, with a machete you chipped them up into slithers to boil them down to get the sap out of them and it took hours just to get a little bit of sap out of these wooden chips and then you have to concentrate that sap down and only when you had this concentrated dye, could you put your white robes in them and to beat them and pummel them and then you'd dry them on the line, turning them every few minutes so the dye never streaked and then you put them in to put some more dye on, about three or four times before they became the correct colour.

It was hard work, time-consuming; it was like a test to see whether you really deserved to be a monk. And at this particular time there were three monks who were about to ordain. Actually one of these monks is now quite well-known, Ajahn Gowesako, the Japanese monk who has been here before. He's now got a monastery in Kanchanabery, in the East of Thailand, sorry, the West of Thailand; and he was one of those monks, and those poor monks, they'd already been up the night before, they hadn't slept for about forty hours, and you could see just how tired they were. So that evening, after the evening service, we did some chanting and meditation, which finished about nine, nine thirty, I went to the shed where they were busy working for another day another evening without sleep. And I told them, you guys go and take a rest, I will look after the dye pot all night for you, I will keep the fires stoked, I will chop up some more chips from the jack fruit tree, you just go and take a rest. And obviously they were just so thankful that they could actually take a break. If you'd been working constantly for about forty hours now you're just looking for sleep, there's a magnetic attraction from your pillow which can pull you from hundred metres away. You're so tired and these monks were that tired. I never needed to ask twice. As soon as I said I'll take over they were off like a shot to their rooms. And so I stayed up all night, working hard, and those days we used to have the bell at three o'clock in the morning for our wake-up call, and we'd all get up at three o'clock to do our morning chanting, and that morning chanting, even though we were very tired, it was usually (snoring sounds)… no that wasn't the real chanting, we used to actually chant in Pali, and then we'd meditate, and then about six thirty we'd go on our alms round.

Now usually in the morning I was tired for the chanting. At three o'clock the bell went, I went off to the chanting, those monks having slept came back to look after that job they were supposed to be doing all night anyway. But the trouble was, or the interesting part was, whereas when I'd slept, I was usually sleepy in the meditation. That morning, when I hadn't slept, I wasn't sleepy, I was perfectly alert, and even when I went on the alms round, my mindfulness was so strong. It was so strange because I never expected, having been up all night working hard and also throughout the whole day that I was not tired. It made no sense to me. I expected to be very sleepy, but I wasn't. And so I asked the monk who was the abbot there at the time, why have I got so much energy when I haven't slept for about twenty-four hours, more than that, thirty-six hours, and he told me, because you've been helping other people, because you've been doing some good karma, because all night you've been focussing, not on what you need or what you want, but on helping other people. When you make such good karma, putting everything in what you are doing, you always get huge resources of energy. And I proved that then, and I've proved that since, this making good karma is not just for something in the future life; it's a great way of developing huge resources of energy and the accompanying joy right now. People who work hard for a good cause, you find you can work harder when it's for some church, charity, Buddhist society, than you ever can when you're being paid by a company. Because you're doing it for another reason, for karmic reasons, for kindness, for care, for love or whatever. It has a different source and has a far different effect. And so because of that you can find these huge resources of energy, just from kindness and goodness.

But it's not just energy which you're building up. There's some part of Buddhism which is very rarely taught. It is that energy, it's happiness. And this lady has seen that I'm thirsty, so she's made, got some water and some orange juice, so she is not going to sleep tonight because she's creating so much energy.

It is any act of kindness and goodness does do that to you, you get energized, and that type of energy, the energy which comes from good karma, from kind action, from compassion, from selflessness, from not thinking about oneself and for helping others, that type of energy is a very happy energy. It's very different from a cup of coffee, which just gives you a boost of energy but which makes you shake physically. This is something which gives you energy and keeps you still and gives you lots and lots of inner happiness. The energy of the mind is happiness. Coffee gives you the energy for your body, but you're really borrowing stuff, so that if one does acts of kindness and goodness and puts everything in what one is doing, you find that you do have not just great sources of energy but also happiness as well. You get joyful, simply because you're engaging in that which is good and kind and wonderful and noble in life.

Once, now I've been doing this for so long now, any opportunity which I see of doing something kind and good for other people, you realize I'm going to take this because you know what the results are going to be: energy and happiness. And also there's another thing you should know. There's no limit to the energy which you can have, nor is there any limit to the happiness you can experience. So as monks we get into very high energy states and those high energy states are also high happiness states, which is why we learn how to meditate in a certain way. It doesn't matter what particular tradition of meditation you're using. What's most important in the training of the mind, just like in the practice you do in your body, you know with your work, whatever you do give it everything you've got, even when you're meditating, you focus everything on the task at hand, hundred percent in the moment, hundred percent in silence, hundred percent on the breath. When you have that degree of focus, one thing at a time, fully on what you're doing, you find that as you practice in your daily life, the way you've swept leaves is also the way you look at your mind. And then you find you have huge energies even in your meditation; but not energies which shake the mind backwards and forwards like coffee does to the body, it's not a wandering-mind energy, it's an energy which is poised and focussed in the moment.

Those of you who have been practising meditation know that degree of power. You know that it's impossible to fall asleep or get dozy. It's alright to get dozy I suppose, at least you're at peace, but it's nice to be there when you're at peace so that you can enjoy what is happening. The trouble is, too many people, when they get calm and peaceful, they just nod off, they're not really there to enjoy the amazing silence of the mind. But once one develops this ability to really focus and put the full mind's power in this moment, you find it does energize the mind, but with stillness as well, so you're focussed on this moment. When you're focussed in the moment, fully alert to what's happening now, energy starts to come, the mind starts to waken up.

You know what the word Buddha means, it means the Awakened One. It doesn't mean the sleepy one, the sloth and torpor one. It means a mind which is fully awake and alert, open to what's happening. With that degree of energy you get something which I've called power mindfulness.


×

We use cookies to help make LingQ better. By visiting the site, you agree to our cookie policy.