Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 354 – Is Mind the Enemy?
Date: August 14, 2009
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Can we consider to be beneficial to consider
the mind as the enemy, or in other words, as an obstacle to enlightenment? I
presume this is so but just wanted to have your view on this.
I mean, I am not saying the mind is "evil", what I am saying is that it may
be useful to be mindful of the mind's workings (nice circularity here ) and
realize that it is doing its thing, i.e. judging, attachment, or inner
For example, we might catch the mind (actually it is doing it all the time!)
saying, "Oh, I hate this?" or, "How did I come to this?" or, "I think she is
not nice," etc., and notice it and go, "Ah, there is the mind doing it's
thing" – and then drop it. I think this is beneficial, opening up to a more
extended awareness. I guess when all the objects of the mind are seen as
such, we get close to realizing we are not our minds, and close to realizing
what we finally really are.
Another thing: when we get to deeper levels of stillness in meditation,
there is often subtler movements and distractions, and a certain fear. I
think this is still the mind and we must continue to drop all this in favor
of stillness, correct? I guess the fear is a fear of disappearing into the
A: Should the hammer become our enemy just because we keep hitting our thumb
with it? It is only a hammer after all. Maybe take a closer look at who is
Likewise, the mind is only a thought machine, a marvelous computer. If we
confuse our identity with it and allow it to run our life ragged, is that
the mind's fault? Maybe take a closer look at who is using it? By making
enemies of the mind or its creation, the ego, we are only reinforcing
duality and suffering, the very situation we'd like to transcend. There are
some teachings that go to lengths to demonize the ego in every avenue of
life. To what avail?
I don’t think that is what you are suggesting here though. You are seeing
your mind, thoughts, and perhaps your ego, as objects of perception from the
point of view of rising inner silence (the witness). This is a good thing,
and sets the stage for self-inquiry, which you are already naturally doing
in your comments here.
Yes, we can drop what is not in our best interest, and we should.
Favor what is real over what is not. But it is very difficult to drop
(let go of) something we are hanging on to as an enemy. Witness is the key,
which comes with the cultivation of abiding inner silence in deep
meditation. Then we can let go much more easily and
gravitate toward increasingly penetrating
forms of self-inquiry (see Lesson 350).
We will directly experience "who" is behind all
these desires, fears and judgments. That One is easily found by
releasing the inquiry in stillness. We are That.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed discussion on the role of the
mind on our path to enlightenment, see the
and the Liberation book.