Training the Mind

By Matthieu Ricard on October 05, 2010

The object of meditation is the mind. For the moment, it is simultaneously confused, agitated, rebellious, and subject to innumerable conditioned and automatic patterns. The goal of meditation is not to shut down the mind or anesthetize it, but rather to make it free, lucid, and balanced.

According to Buddhism, the mind is not an entity but rather a dynamic stream of experiences, a succession of moments of consciousness. These experiences are often marked by confusion and suffering, but we can also live them in a spacious state of clarity and inner freedom.

We all well know, as the contemporary Tibetan master Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche reminds us, that ‟we don't need to train our minds to improve our ability to get upset or jealous. We don't need an anger accelerator or a pride amplifier.” By contrast, training the mind is crucial if we want to refine and sharpen our attention; develop emotional balance, inner peace, and wisdom; and cultivate dedication to the welfare of others. We have within ourselves the potential to develop these qualities, but they will not develop by themselves or just because we want them to. They require training. And all training requires perseverance and enthusiasm, as I have already said. We won't learn to ski by practicing one or two minutes a month.

See ‟Why Meditate”