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Is it desirable to free the mind?

JeroenJeroen Do it with a smileNetherlands Veteran

For me, the process of freeing the mind of habit patterns is an ongoing search. I find one habit pattern, and dissolve it, and expose another. Even when I am fully awake, in the mornings I find myself moving on automatic, making the first cup of coffee, sitting on the couch drinking it, looking at the birds. New habits seem to form as easily as I set old ones aside, automatisms seem to remain.

So my question is, is it even possible to free the mind of its habits? I had this vision in my mind, of a beautiful clear expanse of mindful attention, without automatisms, loosely held, choices made in the moment. I’m beginning to very much doubt that it is possible. There always seem to be certain defaults to which I return, inflection points around certain minima in the effort-reward curves of my life.

Keeping the mind flexible, creative, joyous seems to be as much as one can hope for.

Comments

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    is it even possible to free the mind of its habits?>

    Habits, routines - they are just tools. I think the question is not so much how to free ourselves from them as it is how to ensure that the particular habits and routines that we are using in this moment are appropriate to our situation and not just something we have become stuck in.

    Mental flexibility, creativity, joy - perhaps not just the best we can hope for, but the objective itself.

    Shoshin1lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 8

    Is it desirable to free the mind?

    Yes
    desire is no substitute for a free mind
    https://sufi-tavern.com/sufi-stories/a-sufi-tale-without-a-name/

    Jeroen
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Dan Harris just brought up something relevant with a guest. He likened a question about people not wanting to start meditating because they don't want to become like serene monks. His analogy was working out, it would be like someone saying they don't want to work out because they don't want to be all swole and muscle bound like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The amount of long term dedication, effort and sacrifice to be able to arrive at that destination isn't something one stumbles into by accident and isn't what the vast majority of people are going to get out of it.

    David
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited March 8

    While the mind desires its throne as the center of ones universe it remains bound by that dream.
    When the mind is truly met as a collegial companion to what is seen, heard, smelt, tasted and felt, what dream in that moment, can compete with such freedom?

    JeroenlobsterDavid
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @how said:
    When the mind is truly met as a collegial companion to what is seen, heard, smelt, tasted and felt, what dream in that moment, can compete with such freedom?

    To reach there, one needs to stop identifying with the mind. I’m reminded, we are not the body, we are not the mind. Still it is not easy to determine what is the body and what is the mind?

    David
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Tee hee.
    The mind is what thinks it is the body.
    The body is mostly mindless.

    Jeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @コチシカ said:
    Freeing the mind from habits and being able to recognise how sometimes I've been dragged by an endless cycle of self-deceit?

    I like that.

    I think it has been one of the most remarkable effects of my meditation practice. :smile:

    For me the search for recognising habit patterns has to do with becoming mindfully aware. They are mostly ordinary things such as how I make coffee in the morning, the round of websites I visit on the internet, or how I behave when I am at my uncles.

    They are largely harmless repetitive patterns, when I am less than fully conscious. It always reminds me of the Japanese tea ceremony, which seems to be accomplished with full awareness even though it is actually a repetitive series of actions.

    It strikes me that to do things with precision requires attention and awareness. If you can bring precision to what you do it will also be done mindfully. Hmmm. I might experiment with this.

    lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    As @Shoshin is prone to reminding us, there's Mind-full and there's Mindful.
    Makes one 'L' of a difference...

    DavidShoshin1Ren_in_blacklobster
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited March 9

    @Kerome said:
    For me, the process of freeing the mind of habit patterns is an ongoing search. I find one habit pattern, and dissolve it, and expose another. Even when I am fully awake, in the mornings I find myself moving on automatic, making the first cup of coffee, sitting on the couch drinking it, looking at the birds. New habits seem to form as easily as I set old ones aside, automatisms seem to remain.

    That's just partially how we work. We are living a conditional world and we take our conditioning into our own hands when we replace unskillful habits with skillful ones.

    So my question is, is it even possible to free the mind of its habits? I had this vision in my mind, of a beautiful clear expanse of mindful attention, without automatisms, loosely held, choices made in the moment. I’m beginning to very much doubt that it is possible. There always seem to be certain defaults to which I return, inflection points around certain minima in the effort-reward curves of my life.

    Taking the usefulness from the tool seems counter productive to me. We learn as we go and if we train, we can transform unhealthy habit energy into a healthy routine. We can increase our ability to use our mind and our body in more useful ways and help others in the process.

    The mind and body may not be "self" in the Buddhist sense but they are not separate either. According to the Five Rememberences, our actions are the ground on which we stand.

    Keeping the mind flexible, creative, joyous seems to be as much as one can hope for.

    And I think that can be achieved through skillful means and training. I honestly think healthy, compassionate aspiration is nutritious and not just another unskillful desire.

    lobsterJeroenFosdick
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @federica said:
    As @Shoshin is prone to reminding us, there's Mind-full and there's Mindful.
    Makes one 'L' of a difference...

    Nicely done. Except for the part where I snorted and coffee almost flew out my nose.

    lobsterShoshin1Fosdickfederica
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    (Sorry Dave....)

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