What to do when your life a mess.
‘Mind is King’ is a useful slogan to remember when everything is in a real mess. When life gets difficult, we can easily get overwhelmed, stressed or totally captured by our emotions to such an extent that we can’t find a way out. The world can feel as if it’s falling down around us and we can’t see a way out, but even if our physical situation is dire, even if events are happening that are outside of our control, remembering that Mind is King can be enough to switch our perspective from one of a victim at the mercy of events to one of someone in control.
You may not be able to stop the fire raging through your house, but you can be master of your mental peace and clarity, and when you’re operating from a clear and peaceful mind, your perception of your world will be clearer, and your decisions, your speech and your actions will all be such that they’ll affect your environment in a positive way, thus changing external circumstances.
How does this work?
Sogyal Rinpoche often says, “Mind is the universal ordering principle, the creator of happiness and the creator of suffering.” This is because we are creatures of body, speech and mind, and out of these three, mind is the most powerful because it controls our body and our speech. The others are subservient to it.
If your motivation is good, then your speech and action will be good. If you see in a positive fashion, that is how events and phenomena will appear to you.
John Milton in Paradise Lost said: “Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell or hell of heaven.”
Shakespeare in Hamlet said: Nothing is either good or bad. Thinking makes it so.
Remaining calm in difficult situations
Some people remain calm even in the worst of situations. Why? Because their mind is calm and that allows them to see clearly. To gain the ability to remain calm no matter what the circumstances, we need to practice meditation on a daily basis and integrate it into our lives, but even as a rank beginner, just reminding ourselves that Mind is King, can be enough to shift our perspective from looking outside for happiness, to looking in.
Once we remember that happiness is dependent on our mind more than on external events, we can work to calm our mind even in the midst of the most challenging times. Remembering that Mind is King, will make you looking at your mental state, and if you find it a crazy swirl of thoughts and emotions, you will take a deep breath, go for a walk, sit for a while, do whatever will help you to find some mental peace and clarity. Once your mind has calmed and cleared, you will make wise decisions, and say and do helpful things, rather than adding to the mess by saying and doing unhelpful and even harmful things.
You’ll turn to the King for help, and the King is the sky-like nature of your mind. The mind that is always clear, always calm, always good. Even if you haven’t recognised the true nature of your mind, just looking inwards to your mind instead of outwards to phenomena in search of happiness can make a huge difference.
So remember: Mind is King.
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