Guardians of the Mind

“Learning to discover the treasure within you is the most worthwhile thing in the world.  If you can put this into practice, you can live freshly, with a mind open like the sky, always overflowing with compassion.”        Daehaeng Sunim

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Asuras, temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia    photo: D. Bowman

In Buddhist philosophy and poetry, the sky is often a stunning metaphor for mind; infinitely spacious, clear and compassionate. These figures, Apsuras, are protectors of the sky and in the image appear to be standing in guard of the temple and the secrets to the treasure of mind that the temple represents

The secret is actually no secret at all.  It’s just so close to our nose that we don’t see it at all.  Like the sky, the mind is transparent yet all-pervasive.  The depth of understanding that the mind affords us leads directly to a compassionate view of all of life, including ourselves and every human being.  

Yet mind’s clarity is often obscured by the clouds of our confusion.  Clouds we inherit from the prejudice of our culture and clouds we pile on through our habitual patterns and personal prejudice.  We pre-judge all of experience through the overcast lens of our past experience and foggy hopes for the future.   

The temple of the mind needs to be continually blown clean for us to see clearly, to see reality just as it is and to open our hearts with overflowing compassion for both life suffering and and life beauty.   The practice of mindfulness is like the wind, helping us see clearly what is right under our nose.  And noticing the breath, like a gentle wind, can be a companion guardian of the temple.   

Visit my website to learn about mindfulness in psychotherapy and the Journey of the Feminine retreat in Costa Rica.

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About Deborah Bowman

Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a psychologist, photographer, author and meditation instructor. She retired as professor after 28 years at Naropa University where she founded the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Program and the Wilderness Therapy program. She is a certified Gestalt Therapist has served for 32 years as a psychotherapist in Boulder, CO. Buddhist practice and passion for Guanyin guided her travels in though out Asia. She is the author of several books including The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love.

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