Zen Talk: Using Mindfulness the Buddha Starts us on the Path Towards Transcendence

“Be free of the past, be free of the future, be free of the meantime; be transcendent. When your mind is completely liberated, you no longer undergo birth and old age.”

Yes, I’m much agreed. Now…following through – there’s the hard part.


Being free of the past and future is something, at least initially, best done through mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being aware of one’s thoughts and not letting them take over the mind. I do this by identifying the major groupings of thoughts that I have, noting when I have these thoughts, and then allowing that awareness to free my mind of them.

Dwelling, Planning and Judging

For instance, what does my mind do that prevents me from living my life? It dwells on the past; it plans for the future, and it judges people. When I do anything that falls into those three categories (and if you start paying attention you’ll see that 90% of your thoughts are about these three things, too), I say gently and simply, “dwelling,” or “planning,” or “judging.” This calls my attention to these thoughts, and in most cases stops them from continuing (and in most cases they are useless or I already know what happened, what I’m planning to do or that it’s not necessary to judge everyone). If they do continue, I breath deeply and concentrate on thinking the thought so that my mind can have it out to the end and let it go. Then, the next time I think about that same subject it’s easy to say the word and be done with it.

A Lot More to It

Mindfulness, I’m afraid, is not the whole story and if you want to become transcendent and be completely liberated, no longer undergoing birth and death, then you’ll have to seek out advice from someone far wiser than myself. Mindfulness, I believe, is stage one along this path, and stage one is where I live for now.

It’s a challenge to become mindful, but it’s something I challenge you all to do. Become aware of your thoughts. It’s amazing how much more there is to living in the moment and how many better things there are to think about if only we regain control of our wondering minds. I challenge myself to do this too – become more mindful again. We’ll do it together.

Will you join me on this quest of mindfulness? Do you already practice mindfulness? Do you have any tips for us?

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