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00:00:11,477 --> 00:00:12,560 GELONG THUBTEN: Thank you.
So I'd like to start by talking about the concept of freedom.
I think the term "freedom," the concept of freedom,
is something that is very important to us.
We're very passionate in our search for freedom
and in our defense of our rights of freedom.
And we fought very hard for many centuries to achieve a certain
level of freedom, which in many ways has been achieved,
in many ways hasn't.
But what I'm interested in addressing
is the fact that even though we may have
a certain degree of external freedom in terms of how we live
our lives, in terms of how we dress, what we believe in,
what we do with our time, there's
a deeper aspect to freedom that I
think is more important, which is deep down in our minds,
how free are we.
So if we look at our mind and we see how often it does
things we don't want it to do--
often, our mind goes to places we don't want it to go--
thoughts, emotions, memories, worries.
So the mind is not behaving in a way we want it to behave.
And also, the opposite--
very often, our mind does things or goes to places
we don't want it to go to--
worries, obsessive planning, painful memories, reactions.
When we're sitting in a car stuck in traffic,
and then we find ourselves reacting negatively--
feeling impatient, feeling upset--
this is beyond our intellect, isn't it?
We don't plan that reaction.
Or when somebody says something to us that we don't like,
and we feel hurt, we feel upset.
We don't plan the reaction.
So in many ways, we are not in control of our minds.
And of course, you discover this really strongly
when you try to meditate.
Anybody who meditates discovers within five minutes, or five
seconds, the lack of control.
We're trying to sit there and focus on our breathing,
And within seconds, the mind is planning menus, or writing
emails, or plotting revenge.
I don't know.
The mind is going to places constantly.
So there's this lack of freedom, this lack of choice.
And then when it comes to happiness,
the same thing seems to be the case--
that we don't know how to choose happiness.
It's almost as if we have to hope
that happiness will choose us.
You know what I mean?
And also, our quest for happiness
is very much based on external things.
Very often, we think happiness will come from,
and then there's a whole list--
people, places, situations.
Happiness comes from those things.
And so then we are left hoping that we
can manipulate our life to a certain degrees
so that happiness will arise.
But of course, it's beyond our control.
And also, I think, for many people,
the definition of happiness is very much
based on a sensation, a kind of quick sensation,
almost like a buzz.
We have this kind of-- we want to get high.
We want to feel something.
Our idea of happiness is a sensation
that is triggered by something, and then we feel good.
And of course, the problem with that is it doesn't last.
So we feel good, then we feel bad.
It's very unstable.
So when our happiness depends on an external trigger,
then the problem is when the trigger is absent,
the happiness is absent.
And we're just, in a way, lurching from one
high to the next, looking for a buzz, looking for a sensation.
And so much of the way we construct our lives now
is based on that with our use of the internet, even
food, caffeine, different experiences.
We construct our life to give us these sensations that
make us feel good.
But the problem is the more we are hoping that happiness
will come to us from the outside,
the more we feel lacking inside.
In a way, we're telling ourselves
that we are deficient.
I need this.
I need that.
I need that.
Then I'll be happy.
So we're creating a feeling of lack,
that we lack that happiness.
We're creating a deficiency or sense of almost despair,
and this becomes very painful.
And then also, the wanting and the grasping and craving
that we experience becomes a habit that creates more
wanting, grasping, and craving.
So the wanting leads to more wanting,
and then we feel never satisfied,
because whatever we get isn't enough,
because we're perpetuating the habit of wanting.
So then we're jumping over the experience,
looking for the next thing.
So we feel this unsettled quality in our lives,
almost like a fear or a feeling of uncertainty.
And this feeds us to want more.
So it's a very vicious cycle.
And then all the things that we depend upon
for our happiness are, of course, impermanent.
They're subject to change.
So there's a feeling of uncertainty
because we're depending on the unreliable.
And we kind of know that.
We kind of know that everything we depend upon
for our happiness is unreliable because
of its changeable nature.
So we have two problems here.
We have the problem of endless wanting
and the problem of depending on the unreliable.
So this kind of happiness hasn't worked for us.
It hasn't given us peace.
It's just made us more exhausted, more frustrated.
And I think, through meditation training,
we can find a very different approach.
Basically, we're looking for something different--
happiness from the inside.
We're recognizing that happiness and suffering
are states of mind.
So of course, they are triggered by all kinds of situations.
But ultimately, they are mind states.
So if we're looking at our states of mind,
and then looking at the possibility
to transform those states of mind,
then that becomes very fruitful.
And then, of course, the problem starts up again,
because we start meditating looking for happiness.
So we're busy meditating, and then, again,
trying to get something, trying to feel something.
And this is the struggle for many people
in meditation, is they say, it's not
working because I don't feel anything.
I've been at this for this long.
When am I going to get high?
Where's the buzz?
00:08:03,810 --> 00:08:06,360 So we want the feeling because we're very conditions
to feel something.
We're in this culture of looking for a high.
And then we meditate and look for the same thing.
The cycle starts again of wanting, not getting,
feeling it's not enough.
So I think maybe we could redefine
our notion of happiness here.
And instead of looking for some kind of feeling or sensation--
which is very temporary, it comes and it goes--
instead of that, maybe we could discover a kind of peace
within ourselves where everything is OK.
Whether things are going well or not going well,
everything can be OK.
Because true happiness is a state of freedom
where our mind can feel calm and positive.
And when I say calm, I'm not talking about some kind
of tranquilized state.
Often when people hear about meditation and mindfulness,
they think, OK, this is about calming the mind.
So I'm going to really bring my stress down.
I'm really going to calm down.
And then what happens to people is
they think meditation means you're supposed to get rid
of all of your thoughts.
So they have this idea that the calm state is
an empty state, a blank state.
Calming the mind means stilling everything, stilling the mind.
And that again becomes a problem because we're
struggling to blank out our thoughts and emotions.
And we think of meditation a bit like going to sleep
or going into a coma, just going under.
It's not about going to sleep.
It's about waking up.
It's about being present, being conscious, being aware.
So then the thoughts and feelings and distractions
are actually part of the whole journey.
It's all about how you deal with those.
It's not about calming them down so there's nothing happening.
It's about being the observer, taking
the place of the observer, the one who is aware of the mind.
And the observer is happy.
The observer is free.
Let's think about it this way.
When you're experiencing unhappiness,
when you're experiencing sadness,
there's a part of you that knows you're unhappy.
And when you meditate, you become more identified
with that part that knows what the mind is doing.
And that part is not in the unhappiness.
That part is able to see it.
So that awareness is free.
And the more we can build our awareness,
the more freedom we can develop.
So I think it's important to stop seeing meditation
and mindfulness as a way of just getting rid of
or removing everything, but instead,
a way of becoming the observer of the mind.
And this is how we choose happiness.
Because when we can be the observer,
we can start to make choices.
Let's look at what happens to somebody in a meditation
They are observing their breathing.
That's a very common technique-- focusing on your breathing.
And then, of course, within a few seconds,
the mind starts wandering.
And then the person starts punishing themselves
and saying, I'm a failure, I can't do this.
That's not right.
So instead of feeling like a failure
because our mind wandered, the other option
would be to simply notice that the mind wandered
and then return to the breath, gently
and compassionately returning to the breath.
This is actually the meaning of compassion,
is that you're not beating yourself up
for what your mind is doing.
And also, you're not trying to chase those thoughts
and make them different.
You're just letting them be how they are.
That's unconditional love.
You have a thought or a feeling.
It's OK the way it is.
You don't need to get rid of it.
You don't need more of it.
It's just fine.
It's fine the way it is.
And then you return to the breath, and you carry on,
and then the mind goes again.
The mind escapes again.
The mind floats off into thoughts,
and you bring it back.
And this bringing it back again and again--
that's how we're exercising choice.
Because it was choiceless that our mind got distracted.
And now we're turning around and bringing it back to the breath.
We're making that choice.
I'm coming back here.
So through meditation training, we're
strengthening that power of choice.
And then as we meditate every day,
regularly, just like going to the gym,
lifting weights, exercise, we're exercising our mind.
And this is making us stronger.
So then we can find that in our life,
we can become more able to choose to stay positive.
Instead of being automatically dragged
into negative reactivity, which is our normal habit,
we can choose to stay calm and stay present, stay focused,
And what we're doing is we're choosing
a happiness that is beyond triggers and supports and need.
It's simply an internal state of being.
00:13:36,990 --> 00:13:40,831 So when we hear this term inner peace, it sounds very weak,
Inner peace, like nothing is happening.
But I think it means to be at peace
with your experiences, negative ones as well as positive ones.
So say you're sitting in the car.
A favorite practice of mine is to practice mindfulness moments
when I'm stuck in traffic or when I'm standing
in a queue at an airport.
So these are situations that normally make us feel wound up,
irritated, impatient, et cetera.
So you're choosing instead to just
be aware of your body and your breathing.
You're sitting in that car.
You're stuck in traffic.
Your mind is running into the impatience or anger,
and you just pull it back and go into a sense of presence--
feeling the ground under your feet,
feeling the chair under your body,
being aware of your shoulders, your breathing.
You're in that mindful state.
What you've done in that moment is
you've reprogrammed yourself.
Because we normally have this automatic programming
of when I'm in a stressful situation, such as waiting
for something, I must react negatively.
It's not even intellectualized.
It's very much part of our habit,
our habitual way of reacting.
So instead, we're changing that and learning
to just be still and be calm and be in this moment
without judging this moment.
So we're reprogramming ourselves.
We're, in a way, rewiring ourself.
Instead of having this stressful situation and negative reaction
fused together, we have a stressful situation
and a relaxed response, creating a new connection.
In terms of our brain, we're building new neural pathways.
And these become stronger and stronger and stronger.
And also, we're learning happiness.
Because next time you're stuck in traffic,
you can think, oh, great.
Now I can do that thing that I learned from that monk.
So you feel joy.
You think, great.
Bring it on.
Let's do more.
It's like going to the gym and loading more weights
on the weight-lifting machine.
You get bigger muscles.
So life's struggles and difficulties
become chances or opportunities for awakening.
So then you're almost looking forward to that.
I don't mean you're becoming some kind of masochist who just
wants everything to go wrong.
I just mean that you're taking experiences as they come.
And when you're stuck in traffic, you feel OK.
You feel, in a way, good.
You want this to happen because it gives you
a chance for training.
And then that shifts into your relationships.
Because let's face it-- relationships are the main
provokers of stress in our life--
how people behave, how we behave, all of that stuff.
So that becomes your traffic experience.
You're with somebody who you feel uncomfortable,
and that's your traffic training, because you're
learning to meet the obstacle with a relaxed mind, which
doesn't mean you've become passive or like a doormat,
letting people abuse you.
It doesn't mean that.
It simply means you don't get wound up.
And it means you can actually, in a way,
experience compassion towards that person.
Because in the same way as when you're stuck in traffic
and you felt somehow good about the traffic,
because this is your chance for training,
you now feel that this person is your friend.
They're presenting you with an opportunity for training.
So your heart opens to them.
And that's compassion.
You see, for many people, compassion is very partial.
It's just an emotional experience
that is triggered when you see small, fluffy animals
and children, or the vulnerable.
And of course, that's a very, very crucial area
We see people who are vulnerable.
We feel compassion.
But that's very partial just in that moment, at that time,
and it's just an experience of an emotional reaction that
comes and goes.
Whereas what I'm talking about here,
through meditation training, is where
you're building the networks of compassion in your behavior.
In your brain, in your behavior, you're building those networks.
Because every time somebody does something
or says something that makes you uncomfortable,
you don't have to take it.
You don't have to be a victim.
But how you feel internally is the crucial thing, isn't it?
And if you can see this person as your compassion tester,
your opportunity, then your energy changes,
and the relationship changes.
So you're choosing happiness even in difficult situations.
Because I think if happiness is only in certain situations
when things are going well, then it's very partial.
But if you're choosing to be happy, even against the odds,
then you're really in charge of your life.
00:19:03,040 --> 00:19:05,250 But of course, we have to train in this.
This is work.
This is work.
We need to train.
We need to put effort into daily meditation.
And I think many people find that difficult because they're
so busy, and meditation is the last thing on the list,
and then we're too tired, all of those things.
But I think, actually, the main reason people
struggle to meditate every day is because of grasping.
It's because of a sense of hidden grasping,
a hidden agenda, which is I want the meditation to make
me feel good.
It's a hidden agenda.
It's got to feel nice.
And if it doesn't feel nice, it's not worth doing.
And then, of course, that doesn't happen,
so then we don't want to meditate.
We want to do other stuff.
We don't drink five coffees in a row
because that makes us feel better, or whatever.
We want things.
We want people.
We want situations.
That's feeding us very instantly.
The meditation doesn't give us an instant hit.
So it becomes much harder to stay committed to something
that's not giving you a hit.
It's really hard.
So I think the solution is to do two things.
One is to learn how to practice tiny moments of meditation
throughout the day.
I'm not saying that will give you a hit,
but I'm just saying it's easy to just drop into a mindful state
while you're washing your hands, or brushing your teeth,
or stuck in traffic, because it's just a moment.
You're not requiring time.
You're just momentarily going into that state
throughout the day.
And what happens to you is you start to notice
that this is quite pleasurable.
You're not looking for pleasure.
You're not looking for a feeling.
But as the mindfulness builds up throughout your day,
you start to feel good, because you start to feel at peace,
and you start to feel nourished.
It brings an enormous amount of nourishment into your being
because you're being present, you're being calm,
you're not going with negative reactivity.
This is really enriching.
And this gets you wanting to meditate more.
So that's one thing.
Another thing which really helps if you
find it hard to meditate regularly
is to occasionally develop some kind of wisdom
about the process of meditation, which
means to spend time thinking about why meditation
And the best way to do this is to actually ask yourself
simple questions, such as where does happiness really come
Where does happiness really come from?
And where does suffering really come from?
They come from the mind.
They are mind states.
And what happens if I change my mind state?
What happens if I train my mind?
How does this address the deep question
of happiness and suffering?
So if you ask yourself that, it helps you to remember that
actually, in life, all we want is happiness and freedom
from pain, and all the things we're doing to get that
are only working to a certain degree.
But if happiness and freedom from pain are mind states,
then surely, training our mind is the way to get what we want.
So when you realize that meditation will actually
give you what you wanted from all those other things
but weren't getting in the long run,
when you realize it's a long journey,
but it will give you what you wanted,
then you want to meditate.
This gives you energy for practice.
00:22:48,470 --> 00:22:51,580 So I think I've covered a few points here.
I've been talking about happiness
and the choice of choosing happiness, learning
where happiness comes from, and the link with meditation
And I think a really crucial thing
to take away from this is that meditation requires letting go
rather than grasping.
We tend to live in such a grasping culture.
We're always wanting something.
And then when we meditate, it's really hard
not to grasp after results.
But I it's really important just to have some time when
we totally let go and just experience our mind,
whether it's busy or not busy.
There's no such thing as good meditation or bad meditation.
Some people have a session where their mind
is just crazy, crazy, just rolling around like a--
I don't know-- like a spinning top,
and they feel it was a bad session.
To me, that's a good session, because you
saw your mind in all its glory.
You're experiencing the busy mind.
That's a good session.
00:23:56,540 --> 00:23:59,110 That's a good workout.
So maybe we need to move away from this judgment
around what a good session and a bad session is.
And I think then we can experience more freedom
and greater compassion.
So I want to stop there and now open this up
to questions and discussion.
So [INAUDIBLE] is going to lead that.
SPEAKER: I think I've known you a little more than a year now.
And every time--
I think last year [INAUDIBLE] six weeks of coming to Google
and giving such talks.
And I still find myself learning new things when you
speak about the same subjects.
GELONG THUBTEN: Me too.
Every time I speak, I learn something.
SPEAKER: OK So I have a lot of questions,
but there's a lot of people in the room.
So I want to make sure I give time to--
well, not everyone, but a lot of people to ask questions.
But I'll just start with a few questions
and then open it up to the floor.
And I want to start with a bit more, I guess,
personal about your choice when you decided to leave acting
and become a monk.
At what period of your life, and how
did you come to that decision, in case
there's someone in the room looking to make the switch?
GELONG THUBTEN: Oh, yeah OK.
So I was 21, which is 25 years ago.
And I was living in New York.
And I was incredibly stressed.
I really was burning out with stress.
And I needed something to really get my emotional and physical
health back on track.
And a friend of mine told me about a Buddhist monastery
called Samye Ling in Scotland.
It's the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the West.
It was started in the 1960s.
And she told me about this place and said,
you could go there and be a monk for a year
to sort yourself out.
And I went there, and I became a monk after three days.
And it was only for a year, first of all.
I wasn't planning to stay longer.
But slowly, over time, during that year,
I started to study Buddhist philosophy and meditation.
And also, through studying these teachings,
my attitude about life started to change.
I started to think, what do I want in my life?
Do I want to live a life maybe more that's
down the avenue of service, serving others?
And I started to see how being a monk
could help me to not only help myself, but help others.
And so I decided to stay.
And I eventually became a fully ordained life monk.
But the initial motive, I think, was just feeling really crazy
and needing some peace.
And then it changed into a sense of a journey and a path
which I'm learning and trying to help others to learn.
At the beginning of a journey, I suppose,
in a lot of people that start meditating,
your probably face some challenges
and some difficulties.
And I know you've probably meditated way--
a lot more than a lot of people in the room.
So I guess just to relate to your experience,
your challenges when you first started to meditate,
and a lot of the difficulties you faced,
what are some of them that you can share?
GELONG THUBTEN: Well, the first time
I meditated, it was really into the deep end.
We had to do two hours without moving.
And I just remember sitting there with my legs on fire.
I had to sit cross-legged on the floor.
My legs and my back on fire.
And there was a carpet in front of me with patterns,
and I was looking at these patterns
to just try and stay alive.
Just focus on that pattern, and you won't go crazy.
So that was extreme.
And then, of course, I learned how to build it up slowly
and do smaller sessions.
But one of the challenges I found earlier on,
which I addressed in this talk, is
that I really was searching for a feeling all the time.
And there was a period where I was doing a lot of meditation
and getting very depressed and feeling very--
almost like let down.
It was a heavy feeling.
And I spoke to my teacher, [INAUDIBLE] Rinpoche, and he--
I told him about this, and he said, actually,
you're like somebody who's taking drugs.
You're using the meditation like a drug.
You're trying to get high.
And I realized that's what I was doing.
I was sitting down to try and ramp up
some sensation in my mind or my body.
And of course, because you're looking for something,
you're feeling the lack of that.
And so he showed me how to work through that, and instead--
there really has to be a motivation of compassion.
Even if you're just meditating for stress reduction,
that's not enough.
There's got to be a feeling that this is not just
about me, but about others.
And you're dedicating your practice
to the happiness of all, the happiness of others.
And then this removes the grasping--
not all of it, but some of it--
and also gives a sense of a journey.
SPEAKER: And at this stage for you, do you still
find it hard to let go of the grasping
and always have the right intention?
Do you still struggle?
GELONG THUBTEN: Of course I still struggle.
00:29:21,120 --> 00:29:24,270 This whole idea of having the right intention that--
in Buddhism, we talk about having the motivation to free
all beings from suffering, and this
needs to be your motivation for practice.
So I could really give myself a hard time about that
and say, well, that's not genuine.
I'm not experiencing that much, and my motivation
is not good enough.
But I actually think wanting to have good motivation
is good motivation.
It's almost like wanting to be more compassionate means
you already are compassionate.
And that's the way I relax myself about this stuff.
When I'm struggling with this stuff,
I say, actually, I'm doing my best, so it's OK.
I'm much gentler on myself than I used to be.
That's changed a lot through meditation.
SPEAKER: I suppose it's a common challenge for a lot when
you beat yourself with a stick when it wasn't
a good meditation session.
GELONG THUBTEN: It wasn't good enough.
It wasn't authentic.
It wasn't this.
It wasn't that.
That's just another judgment.
That's another thing to let go of.
SPEAKER: And-- along those lines of what's good
and what's bad-- so a lot of people sometimes,
me included, when you're feeling good, then OK,
and whatever is around you is benefiting you.
To meditate, you sit and meditate.
But when you're sick, when you're ill,
when you don't feel good, you're like, no, I
don't need meditation now.
Or vise versa-- sometimes people really only
meditate when they're stressed.
And when they're really happy, they're like,
I don't need medication because I'm already happy.
GELONG THUBTEN: The first one is more common, which is--
both are true, and the first one is even more common,
which is where, if you're tired, you're sick, you're unhappy,
you think, oh, I'll meditate later.
I'm not in the right state for it to be a good session.
And this is really a deceptive motivation.
Because what happens then is you're telling yourself,
I have to feel a certain way for my meditation to work.
I can only meditate when I feel like it, when I feel good.
And that's not meditation.
Then it's again back to that grasping.
So I think it's really important to meditate when you're tired,
when you're sick, when you're unhappy.
Because you're just being with that experience
in an unconditional way.
And that is how you make friends with yourself,
all aspects of yourself.
Otherwise, you're just showing up at the meditation cushion
when you're in a good mood.
It's like you're having a very partial relationship
with yourself, like a fair-weather friend.
When I'm in a good mood, then I'll sit with my mind.
But when my mind is not in a good state,
I'm going to reject it.
So instead, if you meditate when you're unwell,
you're making friends with your experience in a very genuine,
SPEAKER: Does anybody have any questions,
or should I keep going?
AUDIENCE: So you were speaking about the experience
of being stuck in traffic.
So I wonder if any of the techniques
may be applied to the situation where you are actually driving.
So I wonder whether being mindful
may get in the way of doing some important work that
requires being focused on something external.
GELONG THUBTEN: Well, actually, just to drive a car,
you are being mindful.
Everyone has a natural kind of mindfulness.
To drive a car, you have to be mindful.
Otherwise, your car is going to crash.
So there is already a level of mindfulness there.
And I think it's important to see mindfulness
as you're being really present.
You're not switched off.
Some people like to close their eyes and go within.
That's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about being totally in this moment.
So when you're driving a car, you
have to be totally in this moment.
But what many people do is they drive a car,
and they are partially mindful of what's going on.
And then they're listening to music and chatting to a friend,
and there's very split attention.
But you could drive completely mindfully,
and that could be meditation.
00:33:20,687 --> 00:33:21,770 AUDIENCE: So I basically--
I have two comments, and I was hoping you can reflect on it.
So the first comment is why isn't
being more aware and a state of freedom the default.
Why is it such a challenge for us?
And secondly, I was wondering, are we not actually choosing--
not per se happiness, but to be more
in control of the different states of being?
So it's more like a control issue, almost.
If you have more awareness of all the states of being,
then you feel in control.
You're not as much into either being happy or suffering.
So basically, the two comments are why it's not the default
and why it's not more about building awareness
to feel more in control.
GELONG THUBTEN: Well, in a way, when
you say happiness and freedom and default,
in the Buddhist understanding, we
believe that our natural mind is pure.
Our deeper mind is free.
We call it Buddha nature, which is that deep down inside, we
have the potential for awakening.
And in fact, every time you sit down on a chair or a cushion
to meditate, you're acknowledging that potential.
Because why would you do something
unless you felt you had the potential
to achieve the results of it?
So you're meditating because you know there's something deeper.
So in a way, our natural state is happy and pure and free.
But it's layered with confusion.
We get caught up in confusion.
We get addicted to confusion.
And a lot of that is to do with survival--
the survival instinct, the fight or flight reaction.
In a way, our brain is wired to obsess about what's wrong
and what's dangerous, because that's how we stay alive.
But much deeper than that is pure consciousness
that we can learn to slowly access through meditation.
And then the second comment around--
actually, I've forgotten your second comment.
It was really intense.
So can you repeat it?
AUDIENCE: So are we not choosing to be more aware?
GELONG THUBTEN: In meditation?
AUDIENCE: Yeah, in meditation.
Instead of-- OK, we're not choosing happiness,
but it's more like we're choosing
to be more aware of our different states of beings.
Thereby, we build up more control of--
either we are in this happy mode or this suffering mode,
yes or no?
Basically, our capability to zoom out
is built by the meditation.
GELONG THUBTEN: I don't know about control.
I don't know if we're controlling our mind states.
I think it's that we're learning to let go.
So it's a bit like traffic on a road.
You have cars going by.
Are you getting into the cars and going for drives,
or are you just letting the cars go by?
And then maybe you could choose to get
into the useful cars, the cars that
take you somewhere positive.
So it's about making choice.
I find the term "control" makes me think of something very
tight and rigid and repressive.
I'm talking about freedom and choice.
Does that make sense?
00:36:32,310 --> 00:36:34,230 AUDIENCE: Do you think that you're
more free if you control your own mind or more free
if the mind controls you?
GELONG THUBTEN: Well, let's dump this word "control."
I think you can be more free if you can
choose what your mind is doing.
Do you understand why I'm slightly
hesitant about the term "control?"
Because it sounds like you're making your mind very tense,
controlling what it does, pushing down
the negative thoughts and jumping
into the positive thoughts.
That, to me, feels very stressful.
So can we rephrase this and think more in terms of freedom?
And your question was are you choosing
or is the mind choosing you.
And like I started my talk today,
it really feels like stuff chooses us.
Suddenly, we're experiencing sadness, and we're thinking,
I didn't ask for this.
Where did this come from?
And then we think somebody put it in us.
We immediately point the finger.
Oh, it must be you.
Why am I feeling like this?
It must be you, or it must be this.
And so it feels like these mind states are invading or choosing
us, and sticking to us like glue.
And I think meditation is about changing it round so that you
are the one who is creating.
You are creating your thoughts and emotions,
and you are learning how to create the right ones
and just let go of the ones that harm you.
00:38:05,500 --> 00:38:07,950 AUDIENCE: So I actually also have two questions.
For one, it's mindfulness--
we want to be present in this moment.
But I guess a lot of people here have days that we plan ahead.
We plan our next day.
We plan our next week, our year.
So how do you suggest we do this?
How do we plan, but we still stay mindful?
GELONG THUBTEN: So yeah, we do need to plan.
And it often sounds like a contradiction when
we say mindfulness is about being in the present moment,
and then, we've got to plan stuff.
Are we supposed to just live in the present all the time?
If you lived in the present all the time, you wouldn't eat.
You wouldn't plan-- you know what I mean?
You're planning your meal.
So again, it's to do with choice.
I think we plan obsessively.
We plan impulsively.
We plan in a way that becomes so habitual that we never
Because when we get to the thing we planned,
we're busy planning the next thing.
So how about planning the choice?
How about choosing to plan, as and when
you need to plan, and then let go?
Make plans, do what you need to do, but let go of outcomes.
That would be a much healthier way
of making our plans actually succeed.
What was your second question?
AUDIENCE: So with this, you really
say that we just let go of the outcome,
like we don't judge it anymore.
GELONG THUBTEN: I think that's important, even
in worldly success.
If you want to be successful at work,
you've got to make a plan.
You've got to do what it takes to get there and let
go of outcomes.
Because otherwise, you're so actually fearful
that the outcome won't happen that it won't happen,
because you've created a sense of lack already in your mind.
AUDIENCE: The second one was more about emotions.
So we have this thought that we actually
need to let out our emotions.
So if I feel sad--
I don't know-- I need to cry to let it out.
So would you really say we need to do this?
Because this state of being aware of the feeling,
I feel like we make suppressive.
GELONG THUBTEN: So when we feel we need to let out our emotion,
it's because we see our emotion as something very solid,
and we need to somehow eject it.
You know what I mean?
We have to get it out, because otherwise it's
going to poison us.
It's so solid, and we have to--
almost like vomiting.
You know what I mean?
And so with meditation, you start
to understand the mind in a very different way, which is
that your emotions aren't real.
Your emotions aren't real.
They can come and go like clouds in the sky or waves
in the ocean.
So you don't need to suppress them.
You don't need to get them out.
You can just experience them and let them go.
00:40:56,530 --> 00:40:59,080 So this is the training of meditation
which will help us to understand our mind
or experience our mind more in that way.
And then this whole notion of suppression or expression
starts to change.
You find that you can just be with the emotion
and not be too bothered by it.
AUDIENCE: I have one interconnected question
with you, maybe.
So I do meditate, and I'm far away from--
well, doing it the ideal way.
It's a journey.
I understood it's a journey.
But I try to think of ways to bring this to other people,
to encourage other people, or to hold my own meditation
session, maybe, one day.