An important part of the Zen ‘state of mind’ is to be fully aware of the fact that nothing stays the same. From one point of view this is not so great: your new mp3 player will stop functioning, happy feelings will not last, people will leave you. This is the way the universe is. Nothing stays the same, things that do not change do not exist. Everything changes, even a mountain will erode to a hill given enough time. And so we suffer because all objects, feelings and people will cease to exist at a certain time.
From an other perspective change can also be very welcome. Your noisy neighbors will move, you will learn new things as you grow older, sadness will subside and the current government won’t be in charge forever (and neither will the next…). The strange thing is that we think bad things will last forever and we are afraid the things we like will be over too soon. This way we suffer twice while neither is fully true.
Fear of Suffering
Most of the time when we think we are suffering, we are actually suffering from the fear that we will suffer. Very few really suffer all the time. Things will or will not happen regardless of whether or not you think about them. If you think about the things you fear, your body will react as if they were really happening. Your heart will beat faster, adrenaline is produced, your blood pressure rises and you can even start to sweat. All this will happen without reason, except in your mind. We must try to control the mind.
Control the Mind
But as we all know mind control is not really possible. The less we try to think of something, the stronger it will get. The human mind is in a never-ending discussion with itself. It does a constant interpretation of the things we experience. We can’t stop the mind from stirring up thoughts, it is what the mind does. What we can do is to stop getting on ‘the train of thoughts.’ A thought comes up but you don’t follow up on it. Don’t analyze your interpretation or connect it to a memory. Let it pass by. Experience the world as it is. Without passing judgement or relating it to something else.
Just see (and hear, and feel).
That is the way.