A couple of weeks back I engaged in a discussion with a Buddhist Monk. He was only ordained within the past two years, so as far as monks go, he is fairly new on his spiritual path.
Having once been an engineer, this Monk is very mental, hence he is endeavouring to find the path to enlightenment via his mind. The result is that has become increasingly frustrated, confused, angry and judgemental. Now I know that this doesn’t sound like your typical monk, but remember that we are all on a journey of discovery and the place that he is in now, early on his spiritual path, is not where he will be in 10, 20 or 30 years time.
What he is yet to discover is that the path to enlightenment is never via the mind. The mind is rudimentary tool – a computer – that is capable if receiving, processing and presenting information. It is not capable, with its limitations, of comprehending the meaning of life or the totality of Creation / All-That-Is. As this monk will eventually discover, trying to discover enlightenment by way of philosophising, analysing and questioning serves only to tie us in knots and create complete confusion. In fact, when one dives too deeply into the mental rabbit hole, there is a high risk of going out of the mind – a mental breakdown – which I think will be the path of this monk in the near future, judging by the way he is tormenting himself.
Although not a path that I recommend, by leaving the mind he will have a better chance at achieving enlightenment. Enlightenment can only be experienced. It can be felt, but not thought. When Buddhists talk about “taming the mind”, it is not through analysis, but through silence – telling the mind to be quiet. That is why meditation is practiced – to silence the mind and just experience being – to reconnect with your True Self and All-That-Is – not through thinking or trying, but by breathing and allowing.
When we give the mind power, we allow it to control our life experience, by bowing down to the stereotypes, beliefs and limits that it places upon us. When we stop, allow, breathe and accept we return to our centre and it is from this place that enlightenment is possible. The who, how, what, why and where doesn’t matter – it never has and it never will on the path to enlightenment.