As a mindfulness teacher, I observed that many of us tend to have unrealistic expectations of our mind. It’s not because we over or under-estimate it, but it’s really because we do not see clearly the nature of our mind.
We have insights and we expect to own these insights immediately. We expect to heal immediately. We expect changes immediately. We demand that the body and mind to reciprocate immediately when we want a desired change.
What results is that we conclude the sound insights, knowledge and practices as useless because we could not get the results we want within a short period of time. We then embark on an endless search for answers, wanting to find the one that ‘works’. Nothing will work unless you take time and commitment to practice the change. Most importantly, it did not even occur to us to practice this change – patience and compassion for the self, for the journey, and the path of growth. Before we can finish saying ‘let me take a closer look’, we have backed away from the entire experience.
I use this metaphor of our hands. We don’t look at our non-dominant hand and expects it to write as well as our dominant hand immediately. If we injured our dominant hand and need to use the other hand to write, we don’t judge it as useless, incompetent, or inefficient. We know for a fact that we didn’t practice with it, and the muscles are not well-developed for the task.
Why do we not see the same with our mind? We expect the thinking to stop, we want it to think a certain way right away, and we want our behaviour to change now. And we load ourselves with judgements when the mind is unable to ‘perform’. When really our mind, our neurological processes are not so different from our body muscles.
Can we give cultivation a chance? Can we slow down and give real change a chance? Can we give us a chance?