sweep the mind

- through Henry Oudin

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Emptying, calming the emotions, finding inner peace, expressions abound to describe the fruit and the nature of the contemplative practice of Buddhism. However, to see a little more clearly, it would be advisable to return to a good old and healthy practice: to give a good broom and discover the incredible space of our mind.

If you visit Japan, you'll often find monks dressed in blue work kimonos with their heads wrapped in white cloths busy cleaning, scrubbing, mopping and sweeping. Everyone gets involved, including and especially the abbot of the monastery who sets the example. Of course, this practice makes sense: taking care of living spaces, maintaining them, giving them attention and care, is taking care of the world. Compassion does not consist in worrying about the most distant suffering, of slipping donations and checks into envelopes or by interposed clicks, it begins where we stand in the innocuous gestures of everyday life. Our neighbor becomes the staircase to be bricked, the sink or toilet bowl to be cleaned; it is up to us to watch over silent and immobile objects and show them that gratitude of which we are so sparing. Obviously, such an attitude predisposes you to pay attention to someone that no one will notice on the street, at work, on public transport or in the local supermarket.

Coming back to breathing is sweeping

Beyond this evidence, household activity is also a very useful metaphor for our own relationship to mental and its movements. Whatever the season or the reason, the gravel of the yard or the lawn will always be covered with leaves or petals, the surface of the furniture with dust, the table with objects or papers, likewise the spirit secretes thoughts and images, uninterrupted. This is even its distinctive sign. So when an emotion arises, an image or the foregrounds of an interior video, swiping comes in handy. To do this, we often use the breath and the attention to the breath. Riding the breath is one of the first and ultimate ways to meditate. One can simply come back to it and follow it, or concentrate on the exhalation more particularly without controlling it, but observing it. If, in the end, the one who devotes himself to meditation no longer manufactures anything, manipulates or does anything special, the beginners that we all are are invited to consider the breath as a precious aid to let go of importunate thoughts. . Coming back to breathing is a sweeping sweep, mind and body are suddenly relieved. And no need to be serious, to take on an absorbed air or an inspired face, the thing can be done everywhere, in all places, and literally go unnoticed. Some masters recommend displaying a slight smile, but I don't see any point in that. It's already too much. It is enough to keep a face, a relaxed body, to feel the air which rushes freely into our bronchi and comes out of the nostrils. At each news thought, we return to this breath that we had just abandoned.

The importance of saying to oneself: “What does it matter? »

For my part, I also practice another way of passing the broom which was suggested to me in the past by a very seasoned Buddhist therapist. Whenever I feel sadness, dejection or anger in the face of an external or internal situation, all I have to do is pronounce with clarity and determination this mantra, this magic key phrase: “What does it matter? » or even « No kind of importance! ". In doing so, I content myself with placing the irritation in a larger field, a very illuminating panoramic perspective: this delay in traffic jams, this interminable wait, this freaking out of my kid and my colleague, my own annoyance in the face of so and so, what does it matter in one, two, ten, fifty years? What will remain of my last breath? And what about the scale of the world and the universe? This breaks the identification with the emotion and its energetic charge, and makes it possible to free myself from an infernal cycle in which I risk finding myself trapped, because, past a certain stage, the emotion governs and reigns over the body. -mind.

It is up to us to watch over the silent and immobile objects in our dwelling places and to show them the gratitude of which we are so economical.

This way of bypassing a process that risks misleading us for a while (we have to wait until the little emotional merry-go-round has finished its film and closed its session) is at the heart of many Buddhist traditions, Tibetan Dzogchen in particular, but also the tradition of Japanese Zen. It is even one of its essential tools. Disconcertingly simple, it requires neither complex initiation, nor difficult rituals, nor considerable experience, it is accessible to everyone, children and old people, beginners and experts alike. Neither mandala, nor visualization, nor complicated recitation, nor delicate posture: just our body, our mind, our confusion and the recognition of the inanity, the stupidity of worrying or being troubled at this point. Finally, a significant point, this practice invites us to cultivate a sympathetic sense of humor no longer exercised at the expense of others, but which takes us for object of mockery. We then take the full measure of the paranoid situation and the mythomania of our universe. By making it tumble, the jubilation and serenity are then immeasurable, and, icing on the cake, we "tell it" much less

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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