Self Liberation of Thought by Lama Rinchen
When we have gained experience at watching the mind, we will soon develop the skill of seeing thoughts arise. When we have developed the skill of seeing thoughts arise, then it is an effective time to apply some more medicine. This medicine is to learn about the practice of the self-liberation of thought. This practice will show us that we can liberate thoughts that we don’t want, liberating them as they arise. The practice of watching the mind and the self-liberation of thoughts is the very quintessence ( 5 essences ), the seed, of learning to discover the nature of mind. These two practices are very important and meaningful to develop. In our usual way of daily living, we accept the way that our thinking operates. We think that there is no other option. Because of this unquestioning acceptance of the way that our thinking works, we temporarily block our spiritual development. In the usual way that we use our mind, a thought arises and we respond to it. In this way our mind constantly creates action in a somewhat out of control development. This development increases spiritual awareness, and purifies the habits and tendencies of the relative mind at the same time. Never forget that it is the habits and tendencies of the mind that push us around in our daily lives, more or less out of control. With the mind practices, we will also see our emotions as they arise. When we can recognize emotions arising, we can consider the effects of them on the tranquility of our mind. With the accomplishment of the mindfulness, watching of the mind, and the self-liberation of thought practices, we will forever be able to do something about our emotional reactions, instead of involuntary releasing them like a herd of wild horses. Liberating thoughts of anger is how patience develops. If we can self-liberate thoughts of anger, then, when we are scolded, we will have the ability to be patient. The ability to fix thoughts and actions in this way, is a direct benefit of the practices of mindfulness, watching the mind, and the self-liberation of thought. When a thought arises, we won’t need to suppress it or cut it off, which causes stress. It can just be let go of. We just don’t have to give any attention to the thought at all. From then on we can develop the discipline to not follow our thoughts, and they will leave no imprint on the mind. When we are able to do this, it will be a thought arising, and a thought dissolving. Thought arrives, thought dissolves. This will create new habits in our discursive mind. Thoughts will always keep coming, but the old habit of following the thoughts, and giving them power, will fall away. We let thoughts dissolve into emptiness. We don’t try to fix or adjust any thoughts. We don’t disturb the fundamental simplicity, the natural state of mind. This is the practice of the self-liberation of thoughts. If we are at a point where we are not yet ready for these practices, if we don’t understand them, or have difficulty doing them, that is okay. We don’t have to become worried. There are other methods that can prepare us for accomplishing them. Everybody is capable of doing these practices. There is no doubt about that. If we are interested in spiritual development, we should talk to a qualified spiritual teacher or Lama and find out what we can do. We can’t become experienced in the doing of any of the Dharma practices, unless we try them.