Whenever you’re advised to do something with your mind, don’t listen further. At least listen carefully. Whatever the mind does, it does to itself. That is not to say it operates on its own, it doesn’t. It responds to a never-ending flow of internal and external input. Point is, there is no/not one standing outside of your mind able to do anything intentionally pre-decided with “it”. Not even what you usually think of as your “self”.
Imagine the object of such an action. The thing you’re supposed to cultivate or exercise in some way. A separate “mind” considered not good enough, and now you’re told to correct it. You’re supposed to train it and alter the way it works.
Maybe it’s too restless or too unfocused or perhaps it’s too attached to ideas. Some will tell you to develop a Big Mind instead the current small mind. So you believe that to be true. In fact, it IS true. There’s evidence all over the place. A wealth of literature and talk shows all fit so perfectly with your own experience. Others seem to have what it takes and they’re all getting somewhere while you’re stuck.
Damn genes, damn parents, damn education and…well, Dang Me!
Anyways, you’re desperate to acquire a still mind, a clear mind, an open mind or maybe a sharp and alert mind. Fair enough, there’s plenty of practices to go about that business. Teachers will appear no doubt. There are thousands of instructions waiting to be carried out so this could be a full-time job for you. Set everything aside and start your quest for the Right State of Mind. Why not go for the Buddha Mind while you’re at it.
That would be perfect, right.
One thing before you take off into the world of mind altering. Who’s gonna do the job?
Obviously not You for as long as you consider your mind as the very centerpiece of that “you”. I guess most people do exactly that. Stating that “This is Me, but my mind is not part of it” is pretty rare. More often we hear the opposite, like “This is Me and it remains Me even if I lose a leg or both my arms”.
So if you basically are your mind, how could you fix yourself? I guess having your arms doing brain surgery on yourself is ruled out. And even if that was an option, who is going to operate your arms?
You could – apparently by free will – decide to take some LSD and thus have your mind going southwest. Question remains, who or what did it? Was it you, your mind, your risk-taking personality, did the decision decide itself or was Dr. Hoffman in charge? Same thing if you tell a Guru to somehow magically alter your mind. Did s/he do it or did you do it by asking the Guru to do it, or was it maybe the Gurus “mind” that did it?
We can chew on this for eternity without getting anywhere besides totally confused and bored to the bone. Trying to isolate a specific doer or “agent” responsible for causing a likewise specific event that affects an isolated object is just impossible. It can’t be done. Of course it could happen, but to the best of my knowledge it hasn’t yet and I’m inclined to think it never will. Ever.
-So what happens next?
-No one knows!
-So no one can change my mind, not even myself?
-So I’m stuck with what I have?
-No, you’re never stuck because everything, including your mind, keeps on changing constantly whether you like it or not!
-But I want my mind to change For The Better!!!
-Ouch, that’s as close to a constant no-change you will ever get.
-How do I change that?
-You don’t, but you can imagine doing it. It’s called delusion.
-You’re completly screwed up.
-Cheers my friend. Have a glass of wine.