Identifying the Pushing Mind

If the main cause of our lung is our negative karma, another principal cause is that of pushing the mind. What does it mean to push your mind? It means that you are forcing, making excessive and unhealthly effort in your practice, instead of practicing with a calm, open, and relaxed mind, with a reasonable level of effort according to your capacities.  This leads to mental stress which imbalances your winds. In Dharma practice, quality and constancy are the most important factors, not quantity. If you have lung, it means that you are not practicing in harmony with the level of your mind. This requires us to develop humility, a quality that many of us lack. We may think we can become like Milarepa, the great yogi, in a few weeks or months, but the real way of transforming your mind is with gradual and steady practice. This means, for example, starting with 5 minutes of practice, then gradually increasing to 10 minutes, then 15, and so on. Steady means being disciplined and doing it everyday.


The key to knowing if you are practicing according to your level is whether you achieve a sense of enjoyment. For example, if you are able to do half an hour of meditation each day and to obtain happiness and joy from it, you are most likely practicing at a good level. If, on the other hand, you try to do many hours of meditation every day in an attempt to quickly become a great meditator like Geshe Lama Konchok, and you develop symptoms of dizziness, nervousness, and so on, then you are not practicing at your own level! In brief, be reasonable-do a practice that for you is medicine, not a mental beating. Then, if you have discipline and regularity in your practice, you can gradually increase the length of your sessions; in this way, you can eventually become like Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Geshe Lama Konchok, or the great masters of the past. If you are practicing Dharma and your lung increases more and more, this is a bad sign; it means that you are pushing your mind.


by Ven. Thubten Shakya

(excerpt from Balanced Mind, Balanced Body)