today i soaked my mind in a bath of Mu.
i was more present and mindful today than the previous few days. however, i did not reach the same stability as i sometimes do. i would consistently return to compulsive thinking and habitual ego-worship. but my effort was greater today and my successes as well. i did not meditate in the morning, but i did make it a point to take a couple of minutes in bed to reassert my commitment to the path before fully getting up.
we went on another trip in the car today and it seems to me that these excursions are quite helpful to the cultivation of mindfulness. perhaps it’s the novelty element that stimulates my mind and eradicates this plague of lethargy. or, perhaps it’s the fact that i have had some of my most mindful moments while riding in a car and so the memory triggers my mind and gives new life to the brain circuitry responsible for mindfulness.
yesterday, i was reading a book called “the gateless gate” which is a collection of koans for training the mind. the very first koan is the Mu koan in which Joshu is asked if a dog has Buddha-nature and replies with the simple “Mu”. Mu here means nothing or no-thing. so, after reading that i felt that this koan might actually be a very good mental tool for mind-training. i decided to try to keep myself in the “Mu-zone” for a long time and see how effective this is. so, this morning i drew the greek letter mu on my arm and used that as a method for keeping this koan in mind during the day and it worked. i would constantly remember the koan because this mu was on my arm in a place i would routinely spot out of the corner of my eye or just in passing.
one thought i had about mu yesterday was the fact that it was a word that could be harnessed for its power to eradicate words and thoughts. it was sort of like a virus because it begins slowly and then gains momentum at capturing the thought-based activities of my mind and taking them hostage and eventually destroying them. this means that the more and more i think about it, more of my thoughts are being routed to the contemplation of “mu”. as i try to find concepts to link this “mu” with i am exasperated. there are no thoughts or mental ideas which can correctly capture the essence of this “mu”. so eventually i realize that what this “mu” is pointing to is the complete absence of thoughts or mental cognition. so, in this manner, “mu” first captures my thought-energy until it has fully infested it, and then it systematically causes these thoughts to disappear. so, every time i think about “mu” – which will become all the time – i end up with a complete absence of conceptualization, a gaping maw, a black void. today it showed some small possibility of this future role it will play. i was not yet fully consumed by “mu” but still every time i thought about it and tried to ascertain what it really meant, i would end up in profound emptiness.
i resolve to continue practicing this rerouting of all mental fixations towards the discernment of the true essence of “mu”. thus shall i know liberation and final and pure relief from the agonies of compulsive thinking in this hellish samsaric existence.
“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson