There was a man who used black and white beans to make a record of his self-examination of mind. Whenever he had a good thought, he put a white bean in a bowl;
whenever he had a bad thought, he put a black bean in a bowl. At first, there would be mostly black beans. Later, the black and white would be half and half. Eventually there were mostly white beans, then, nothing but white beans. Ultimately there would not even be any white beans. Self-examination means awareness and control.
A sage said: "In learning, you increase daily; for the Way, you decrease daily." This "decrease" means decreasing excess to attain centered balance, decreasing trivialities to return to basics, and reducing human desires to return to celestial design.
Self-government is a matter of getting rid of what was originally not in us. Conscious development is a matter of preserving what is originally in us.
If you look inwardly for a long time, not only will your mind be present, your mind will ultimately stabilize.
Look upon all contrived phenomena in the world as changing from moment to moment, troublesome to no end, and to be put at a distance as soon as possible.
Whatever you may be doing, you should practice both stopping and seeing. Stopping is silent calm; seeing is alert awareness.
Excerpted from Taoist Meditation - Methods for Cultivation a Healthy Mind and Body
Translated by Thomas Cleary 2000
Commentary: The world is constantly drawing our attention outward. Meditation helps us to return, to turn the attention within again. Like a sheet of paper folded back onto itself, so the mind returns to being just as it is for awhile.
With any reading of the Way, it is only real after we implement it ourselves. Are these principles true? Experimenting in the crucible of your own life is the only way to find out.
Create some time each day to pause. Carve out a resting place, a rock to sit on where the mountains of your mind extend as far as you can see. Then bring the attention back within and see for yourself what the mind is.
Elana, Monkess for Daily Zen