UNIVERSAL DHARMA

Your Questions, My Answers ~ PUTTING DOWN THE BURDENS

QUESTION:

"My mind is troubled, as I have done many things in the past that I now regret. How can I put them down, and find peace-of-mind?"

ANSWER:

You desire to be free?
Then you must first know
the nature of the prison that confines you,
and also who holds the key.

The prison is Ignorance, old and strong.
Our minds are filled with wrong ideas
that have taken root there,
and grown big and firm,
crowding out the good and the right,
so that the mind has become dark and fearful.
Prejudice from the past engulfs us,
and we cannot see our way
through this world of foolishness, strife and pain.

The key to unlock this fortress-prison is Wisdom;
this is the antidote to the poison of Ignorance.
But where is it?
Covered over, lost and forgotten
in the tangled jungle of the mind.
Search for it, and you might find it;
it is there.

No-one has greater capacity to help or hinder,
curse or bless us, than we ourselves.
Our mind can be our best friend,
or our worst enemy.
No-one causes us to suffer as much as does
our own mind.

Everywhere, and at all times,
people search for happiness, but few find it,
because they are unaware that happiness—
and unhappiness, too—
are results of the way we live our lives.
The causes of happiness are unknown,
unobserved,
neglected, discarded.
It is like a man standing in a field
wherein he has sown no seed,
expecting a harvest therefrom.
How could it be?

Many people spend their lives running away:
running away from pain, or chasing after pleasure.
Both ways are rather useless,
and often result in more pain.
Stop a while; cease your running;
be still, be quiet, and you might see;
for while you are running, how shall you see?
Everything becomes blurred.
What we are seeking is not as far away
as we think it is.

Who has not done things that should
not have been done,
or neglected to do things that should
Have been done?
Not everyone feels remorse for this.
Human beings seem to be the only ones—
as far as we can tell—
that feel remorse, and the desire
to atone for their mistakes;
animals have no such capacity, have they?


Now, although remorse is uncomfortable,
it is the mind’s way of helping us
to change direction—
from living negatively and selfishly,
to living positively and responsibly.
Thus we are rescued,
and able to begin anew.
Is it not a cause for rejoicing
that you found the way out?
You might have continued like that
indefinitely.

Which, now, seems better to you?
You have lost your chains:
are you going to complain of the places
where they rubbed you raw,
or would you like to wear again the chains?
The sores will heal, in time.
In time, too, having known
both bondage and freedom,
you will find ways to help others
who are still held captive;
as yet, you know not your own capacity.

Know, however, that just as everything
has a price,
so freedom is not free.
Are you prepared to pay for it?
And what will you do with it when you have it?
It comes twinned with responsibility,
and is not for you alone,
to do with just whatever you like;
no, it must be used carefully, wisely,
in the world you share with others.
And thus, even so,
you may unburden yourself of your past.
Be in Peace!

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