The Still Mind

Our world observed from stillness

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Conversation With a Buddha

(Chapter from a work in progress)

“You look troubled.”

“Oh, I’m just stressed. A lot on my mind.”

“Because of your home life?”

“No, home’s fine, I guess. It’s job stuff.”

“I see. You want to achieve something?”

“Well, yeah. I have objectives and a plan. Just somethings with my co-workers. We’re not seeing eye to eye on some issues and it’s just stressing me out because we have a deadline for a new product launch, and… it’s just crazy.”

“I see. What will you do when you achieve your goal?”

“Well, I will be happy, for one.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because I know I’ll be happy when I don’t have to deal with the stress of this project anymore.

“I see. May I ask, all this for what?

“To have a good life! This is what I went to school for, and… This is just how it is, you know. This is the path I chose, and sometimes you have to take some crap, and keep going.”

“So, after you achieve your ultimate goal, then you will be happy?”

“Yes. I definitely will be quite happy.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because it’s what I’ve been working so hard for this long. It’s what I want!”

“I’m sure it is, but can you name me one time in your entire life where you have gotten what you wanted, and were satisfied? It hasn’t happened yet, because you were never satisfied, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. If you have never been satisfied in the past, and are not satisfied now, what makes you think that you will be satisfied in the future? If you can not live in the present then you will not be happy in the future. Your seeking will never end. Your clinging and desire will never end. And that is how you will live out the rest of your days — running, chasing, clinging. There will be no satisfaction; only suffering… Put it down!”

“Put it down? I do not know how to put it down.”

“Just put it down. Put down yourself. Put down your mind. Muddy water becomes clear when you leave it alone.

“I can’t just do that! To get anywhere in this world, you have to work hard! If everyone just sat around and did nothing, then nothing would get done, and people wouldn’t be able to live!”

“Who is it that wants to get somewhere?”

“Me! I do!”

“Who are you?”

“I’m Nancy. I work at an advertising firm.”

“Show me your ‘work’.”

“What do you mean? I can’t show you my work, we’re not at my office.”

“Then show me your ‘Nancy’.”

“What? What are you talking about? I’m right here. Nancy, right here in front of you.”

“Yes, I see you, but no ‘Nancy’. I see you, but no ‘working’.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, seriously!”

“Well, you don’t know who your ‘I’ is, so no wonder you’re so confused.”

“My ‘I’? My ‘I’ is me. I’m ‘I’! Seriously, what are you talking about?”

“The only thing I can see is you sitting here talking to me. I see no ‘work’. I see no ‘Nancy’. Nancy is your body’s name. What is the name of your mind? Where is your mind? When is it? Show it to me. Who is it that sits here in front of me now? Is it your ‘work’? Is it your past? Is it your future? Tell me, where are the steps that you took just before you sat down here? They do not exist. The only thing that exists is you sitting here talking to me. So, I will ask you again, who are you?”

“I’m…. I’m speechless, is what I am”

“Pleased to meet you”