Mind Hinderances, States, and Storms cloud our perception of reality.
|Recently in Sunday
school we were studying the book, "Its Easier than You Think," by
meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein.
It is a very simple but profound book on Buddhist spirituality. In it she talks about the
Buddhist concept of "Mind Hindrances." These are the five energies that
traditional Buddhism identifies as impediments to the clear seeing of life events.
The five energies are lust, aversion, torpor, restlessness, and doubt. We often talk of them as neediness, anger, low energy, fear, and demoralization. As occasionally encountered experiences they can make life problematic, but these, occasional and normal, hindrances can intensify into something more lasting. If they do so they may change from being "Mind Hindrances" to "Mind States."
A "Mind State" is a hindrance that is not transient. It comes to stay. A Mind State becomes a habitual outlook and response pattern. All life experiences are filtered through the Mind State. The Mind State of lust looks at everything through the lens of neediness and desire. Something is missing and life is not satisfactory. The angry Mind State is always on the verge of irritation and frustration and fills the air with tension. Habitual lethargy robs life of the energy required for day to day tasks and leaves none left over for new adventures. The Mind State of Doubt creates an insecure world while the fearful mind spreads anxiety into all areas of life.
Mind States are difficult to live with because they make life more fretful or tedious than needed. They become the lenses though which life is viewed. A Mind State is hard to recognize and harder still to give up. It seems to be the reality.
The real danger of Mind States, however, is that they can suddenly swirl up into "Mind Storms." A Mind Storm is a Mind State out of control. Mind Storms blow in due to some real or imagined occurrence and can wreak havoc while present. Comments are made and actions are taken that are later regretted. With a Mind Storm in control clear vision is lost and judgement is clouded. Just as the storms of weather come and go, so do the storms of the "Mind." They blow in and they blow out again and then the damage must be surveyed. ( Read More )