Fresh Perspectives on Problems (Part 3)

in What's New

The mind is the remarkable creator of our experiences. However, we often overlook how the subtle interactions between the senses, brain, mind, and consciousness can impact our well-being. By examining the processes by which the mind generates experience, we can bring ease to our being and appreciate the true nature of our existence. Our mind can become our closest ally and a dependable companion, rather than a force to contend against during problematic situations. With the help of Tarthang Tulku’s Revelations of Mind, explore the patterns of the human mind and how these structures affect our well-being. By understanding these inner workings, we can begin to comprehend what governs our lives and explore the perspectives that grant greater insight into all aspects of experience.

To get started, follow Ralph McFall on pages 42 - 44 of Revelations of Mind in his discussion on the transition from what one can call an “Identifier Mind” to our very own “Problem-Making Mind”.

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“There is mind that perceives, cognizes, and identifies, and mind that acts upon what has been cognized. Moving back and forth, sealing and validating cognition through recognition, mind creates the continuity it requires to sustain our view of reality” (Revelations of Mind, p. xvii).

“This is our very own journey, a journey that leads to the heart of our being. It begins with making friends with our mind and observing what it reveals in the context of our own experience” (Revelations of Mind, p. 35).

Identifier Mind to Problem-Making Mind

The Identifier Mind is the process by which we recognize things. When we receive new sensory input, a process begins that pushes us to want to know what this input is, aligning these senses with things that occurred in the past. All of our past experiences and impressions become available for us to establish a sense of recognition with the current situation. In other words, it helps us establish a concrete identity.

However, during this process, our mindset can become limited to what we have experienced in the past. This mindset is often dualistic, creating a separation between “I” and “other” in our evaluation. We may, therefore, begin to view the situation based on preconceived pros and cons, or on our likes and dislikes. This can turn the Identifier Mind into a “Problem-Making Mind”.

What does this mean?

If we continuously attach the past and preconceptions to our problems, we are not spending the majority of our energy solving the problem. Instead, we are only rehashing the past to establish a sense of identification. When we achieve that recognition, we may feel gratified to have given the problem a set identity. However, that does not mean any energy has gone into actually creating solutions for the present situation.

Next time you encounter a problem, practicing awareness could be key to your troubleshooting success. Dedicate a few minutes to asking yourself if you are using your energy to solve the problem or merely reflecting on the past to give your situation a more concrete identity. Note where your preconceived likes and dislikes are coming into play. If you can, try to separate those emotions from what lies in front of you. Without the likes and dislikes, without the pros and cons, what remains? What is the actual situation at hand?

After this span of time, review the situation. Is there a new way to look at it?



For Further Study - Workshops

Making Mind the Matter

Investigate the depths of reality and discover how our patterns of ego, personality, and identity shape our perception of the world. Join Mark Henderson and Hugh Joswick in their transformative Buddhist Studies workshop that focuses on the traditional “three trainings” of ethical action, meditation, and wisdom. Whether you attend in-person or online, you’ll gain valuable insight and understanding to help you live a more mindful and intentional life.

Nyingma Institute [Online and In-Person]
July 6, 2024: “Making Mind the Matter”
Learn More Here

Cultivating Inner Peace: Shamatha Meditations

Join us in a retreat focused on quieting the mind and finding inner peace by focusing on simple practices or objects. Through gentle Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga movements, relax your body, breath, and mind, and allow them to integrate and reduce inner tensions. As you progress through the meditation practice, discover your mind’s natural receptiveness to all aspects of experience.

Nyingma Institute [Online and In-Person]
May 25, 2024: “Cultivating Inner Peace”
Learn More Here



Reminder - Free Speaker Series

Mind, Death, & Rebirth

Join Mangalam Research Center’s next “Mind, Death, and Rebirth” series speaker, Karin Meyer, in a discussion surrounding the general assumption that consciousness ends with the body’s death. Engage openly regarding phenomena that suggest that consciousness may exist beyond the body, discussing traditional Buddhist views that expose how diverse death and rebirth experiences challenge traditional beliefs.

Mangalam Research Center [Online and In-Person]
May 23, 2024: “Karma, Death, and Rebirth: Against Naturalizing Buddhism”
Learn More Here


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