There is a story of a zen teacher who, when asked each morning by his students, “How are you today, master?” would reply in a strong voice, Excellent!“
One day a young student said to him, “Master, this is not possible. You are a human being. Sometimes you feel well, sometimes not. What is the meaning of this?”
The teacher answered him, in a gentler tone, “Well, maybe I did not clarify enough. What I meant was that when things are good that is fine. And when things are not good, that is also fine.”
A man once came to his rabbi and asked him, “Can you help me with a problem? I know that we are supposed to give thanks both for good and for bad things. I can give thanks for the good things but how am I supposed to give thanks for the bad things.”
The rabbi agreed that it was an important question but that he was not qualified to answer. He suggested the man consult rabbi Zusha, a famous hasidic rabbi in another town.
The man traveled for several weeks and finally found rabbi Zusha in somewhat poor conditions in a tumbledown house. He repeated the question and asked if the famous rabbi could help.
Rabbi Zusha apologized, saying, “Yes, it is an important question, but unfortunately I cannot help. You see, there has been no bad in my life.”
Total peace of mind is certainly attainable, but it is important to understand what this means.
Total peace of mind, and the primal happiness that expresses it, is independent of what is happening in your surroundings. It is independent of what is happening in your body. And the strangest thing is that it is independent even of what is happening in your mind.
Each moment you entertain any preference regarding what is happening, your peace of mind is at risk, since you do not control what happens.
Each moment that you are fully aware that whatever happens, happens, that nothing else is happening, that at this moment there is no possible alternative to what is happening, simply because it is already happening, nothing can disturb your innermost peace of mind.
Sometimes this is called a moment of enlightenment. I usually call it resting in the unconditioned mind. The terminology is not important.
In order to recognize these moments and encourage them to occur more frequently I have found three resources helpful:
- Find yourself a teacher (to introduce you to the unconditioned aspect of yourself)
- Meditate every day (in order to remember what you have forgotten)
- Spend time with like-minded friends (a valuable support)
So my recommendation is to rest in this unconditioned mind as much as possible, until it stabilizes. Ultimately it is always present. Then you are a buddha (fully awakened to reality).