Things in frequent use don’t change easily
Many people commented that my teaching is profound and unique. If that indeed is the case, then why do some of my students behave like they are not really benefiting from my teaching, nor do they practice my teachings in their daily lives? Many seem to have the same issue: they seemed to understood what they hear, but can neither explain it nor apply it in their real life.
Some people were very motivated after attending my lecture and diligently practice – yet they are still easily defeated by challenges. This situation is very similar to a person who learns kung fu deep in the mountain and one day set out to save the world, only to be defeated by the first challenge encountered. The point is that knowing does not equate doing; even when you believe you can, it may still be superficial or pretentious.
New learning often provokes new ideas, but how deep and how frequent are these ideas? Temporary thoughts do not bring forth real change. One could be very touched and inspired by a lecture, but easily forgets all about it once at home.
Ideas are like tools; the old, frequently used ones are our habits, while the newly obtained ones are not yet firmly established in the mind, therefore they don’t do us much good. Even though new learning maybe inspiring, they are still registered in the surface level of our mind. Your deeply ingrained ideas are like the object next to you, easily accessible; those not so deeply within are not as accessible, just like tools stored away at the bottom of the toolbox. Old ideas that we use daily, while very accessible, are hard to change.
A new idea is like a stranger; even though you had a good chat with him and developed a positive feeling, it still take a while before you feel comfortable enough to invite him home. Therefore the key of learning is to transform a new idea into an applicable conviction. One normally takes for granted what habitually and naturally goes on in one’s life and does not stop to understand or analyze them. Habit is the number two master of one’s life; difficult to overcome. Deep rooted and hard-to-budge habits are major obstacles to internalizing new ideas.
Habitual thinking forms stereotypes and the older one gets, the more fixed one’s stereotypes are. Just as you are most unlikely to rearrange your home furniture from day to day, the mind’s reluctance to change is the same. But, little change in the external environment means there is little movement of the inner environment, therefore little space for new ideas. Even when one’s mind does absorb new ideas it does so through the old channels, therefore only those aspects that suits the old channels in the mind can be received. One prefers to eat, hear and do certain things and prefers to hang out with certain kinds of people. One’s inner environment is well set, much more so than one realizes; so all the appearances generated through such mental environment are accordingly well set.
The functions of the Mind include one’s thoughts and behavior and various perceptions. The perspective of one’s mind determines the location of observation, which in turn determines what one sees, hears and experiences.
Here at my lecture, what and how much you hear is exactly determined by the unique perspective within your mind. You cannot see more or less than what your mind is capable of perceiving through its filters. Therefore the important thing is not what you hear or see, it is to find out exactly where you are in the first place. Only if you know where you are, can real changes be made.
Our perception is part of the environment; the observer is also part of the environment. Where the observer is already determines what can be observed. Perception is energy, body is energy; the inner environment of the mind decides the energy that will resonate with us. Energy is indivisible, therefore one cannot say that the people or environment we perceive has nothing to do with us.
Years ago, this place was just an open space with no buildings or roads. Then gradually people moved in, built houses and roads. These roads now confine where people can travel; the preset ideas in one’s mind are just like these roads that limits the freedom of the mind. When change surpasses the limitation, one becomes flexible; when the limitation overpowers change, one becomes rigid.
Squeeze the presumption out from the sponge
Everyone has thoughts; as for the validity of one’s thoughts, different people have different opinions. Buddhists, Christians and Muslims all claim their own religion to be the truth; in family life, you, your spouse and even your children may all claim to have more validity in their points of view. This self-righteousness is a universal human trait in a relativistic world.
Outside of your mind there are roads; inside your minds there are also tracks. Can you produce a thought that is not within the confine of these mind tracks?