“When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick: every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once” -Milarepa
Just because there are tracks in front of you, doesn’t mean you have to follow them.
The dog is concerned with the next, the novel, the stick throw that has yet to come. The lion cannot be disturbed from his situatedness - from his sacred position in the present. Milarepa is telling us to have the awareness and confidence of a lion, and the resolve to go right to the source of the problem. We can experience this if we try to meditate. When thoughts arise, we often follow them and add fuel to the elaboration, speculation, or judgement. Alternatively, we might admonish ourselves, wishing that these pecking thoughts would stop arising, that they would stop disturbing our peace. Yet the paradox is that when we reprimand ourselves for thinking, we are simply continuing to think! The lion is different.
“Get control of your ego. Don’t hide your delicate pride from the truth. Take ownership of everything in your world, the good and the bad. Take ownership of your mistakes, your shortfalls, your problems - and then take ownership of the solution” -Jocko Willink
The lion takes cool ownership over everything - including the solution. So what is the solution to your thoughts? Find out who the thinker is. When a thought arises, who is aware of it? Stop struggling with the good and evil arising in your mind, you have no power over this arising. Just like the stick, if you find out who the thrower is - your problems cease then and there.
“Similarly take no notice of the ego and its activities, and see only the light behind. Realization is already there” Sri Ramana Maharishi
Rupert Spira writes a short exercise of self-inquiry. Ask yourself verbally in your mind: “Am I Aware?”. The answer, of course, is yes. But there is a pause, a space between question and answer where you need to check if you’re aware. In the same way, if I ask you if there’s a book on the table, your eyes go to the table and check if the book is there. Similarly, where does your mind go when you check if you’re aware? Not aware of anything in particular - just aware. As Sri Ramana writes, you go back to the source, the light of awareness.
Soon we will all remember the light within, we will all remember the inner lion. Enough will be enough, and one day, we will turn around one last time - and see our original face.
It is as it is.
Sri Ramana Maharishi in what is the one Dharma talk I have returned to the most
The confidence you should bring to each day