Many of us for whatever reason have some kind of inborn desire to help others, to make the world a better place. It seems pretty clear that what we have now in our world is a result of the efforts of “mind.” We see that “mind” can never be truly creative, can never be truly new. It is always coming from the past. All thinking is based on the past and so can never create anything that is not based on the past. It cannot create anything that is a jump into the vertical. It is always linear, horizontal.
We can see that if we truly want to “make the world a better place,” then we have to help others discover life “beyond mind,” outside of the prison of the past. And it follows that the only way we can help others discover life beyond mind is to make that discovery for ourselves. It is not enough to talk about it; but we have to be transformed by it. We have to allow it to absorb every vestige of the “me” in order to make room for life in now, in creativity, and in real love.
The next question is surely how to proceed? How do we come out of the prison of the mind? How do we make that discovery of life “beyond mind”? How do we live in “now”? There may be many answers to these questions. But I can only speak from my own experience of one, and that is meditation. And by meditation, I mean simply turning our attention onto the activity of the mind. Seeing the workings of the mind without interfering, without judging, without jumping into the duality of the mind, without getting involved in the yes-no. And it is this watching, this witnessing of the mind in its totality that liberates us from its clutches.
And the irony is that often what is keeping us from allowing that transformation in ourselves is our engaging in the activities of trying to make the world a better place. Our time may be consumed in social causes. We may be active in political movements. We may be trying to heal others. But all the while, we are ignoring the one glaring fact that we have not allowed our own transformation. We have been propping up the “me” through all this activity and so are still living through the mind.
So let those of us who have been blessed or cursed with the disease of wanting to make the world a better place get down to the real work that will pay those dividends. Let us move “in” with a great earnestness, with a tremendous longing. And perhaps, we can actualize, we can realize that which we have been seeking: an Earth populated by beings in touch with existence; an Earth which is populated with whole, sensitive, creative beings who are not acting out of conditioning but out of the intelligence of the whole.
This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.