Excerpt from Protecting the Mind: Discipline Beyond Hope and Fear


"You have practiced somewhat today, and so perhaps we are communicating at least at the level of confusion, which is actually very powerful. If we can talk in terms of our confusion, then we have made some headway into the fortress of assumption of ego, which is the cause of suffering, aggression, pain, whatever you want to call it. We are working with the idea of mind in terms of functional mind, in terms of subconscious mind, which is a matter of accumulated discursive thought, pictorial thought process, and emotions, or the highlights of mind. To begin to unravel this seemingly tight network of ego's trap, we have to begin with the simplest function, which is the sixth sense consciousness we talked about. Fact is when we hear, we don't hear as hearing. When we see, we don't see as seeing. What actually happens is we hear our invention of hearing, and we hear our invention of seeing.

So meditation practice is recommended, practice of shamatha is recommended as a beginning process to actually isolate that sense perception as it is, which is extremely matter of fact and very scientific approach. It has no dream of further greatness, no dream of further dejectedness, it is simply a matter of seeing, experiencing, the function of mind in terms of those six senses as we talked about, clearly and directly without projection, interpretation. That is our practice of shamatha meditation.

To begin with, what we actually experience is just chaos of gossip, of discursive thought, and tremendous blah, blah, blah. But occasionally, there is something direct that happens, occasionally some direct sense of just being here in terms of the senses. Sound of a car, bird chirping, sound of someone coughing in the room, very directly, clearly rings. Immediately upon perception of that sound, that sight, there is recognition of that perception and initial split, dualism—me and my perception. This is the stepping stone which we have to use. The point is there is no necessity, there is no reason whatsoever that we should know that we are hearing. The point is we should simply hear, which is knowing in itself."