In many ways, training the mind to become quiet and remain in the present is a lot like training a dog to heel. You must keep it on a tight leash and not let it stray. You must be very vigilant in your training. If the dog is allowed to get away with negative behaviour, it will be harder to correct later.
Your mind, like a dog, wants to wander off, run free, sniff around to see what scents it can follow, and chase everything it encounters. You must learn to be in control, you must learn to be the master of your own mind.
The dog pulling forward is like a mind thinking about the future. A dog lagging behind is like the mind slipping into the past. The master must constantly tug at the leash to remind the dog to stay with you. Tug on the leash of the mind to keep pulling it back to the present moment of pure awareness.
This is real meditative practice. Don't give the mind any slack. When ever it tugs to pull away from the present moment, pull it back. Practice this continuously and diligently and eventually the mind will obey. When proficient with watching the mind at this level during meditation, transition your practise to incorporate it into your daily life as well. Bringing the meditative practice out into the world is the real goal of learning this process in the first place, just as the true goal of teaching a dog to heel is so that he will obey when walking out in public.
With repeated practice, the dog, and the mind will learn the obedience required to stay where it should be. After a while, the leash will be only symbolically held in place, the mind will come to know that "You are holding the other end" . With sufficient diligence of practice, eventually the leash will no longer be required.
|Michael L. Fournier|