A Modern-Day Mango Grove
If we can put time into perspective, organize our schedules, wiggle out of distraction with might and clarity, and think about what makes life meaningful, we will surely find time to practice, to relax the mind. Ordinarily, relaxing means taking our minds off our daily routine, laying on the couch, and watching a movie or going to sleep. Usually relaxing means distracting ourselves from the stresses of daily life. But we have spent half our lives sleeping without ever feeling rested. This is because we haven’t focused on relaxing the mind itself.
What could be more relaxing than letting go of preferences and worries? What better way is there to reduce our self-clinging than by contemplating bodhichitta? What can liberate our hopes and fears other than letting them arise and disassemble themselves naturally in the space of an open mind? Meditation leaves plenty of room for everything: all of our hopes, fears, and anxieties as well as our joys and aspirations. There is no need to control our thoughts, because when we practice we have committed ourselves to letting them be—not judging them as good or bad, spiritual or not spiritual, helpful or harmful. Is there any other activity that can accommodate the mind and its various arisings in this way?
The only thing we need to practice is a quiet place to sit: a room, a park bench, or our own bed. The sutras describe a peaceful mango grove as an ideal place to practice. The Buddha and his disciples practiced meditation in such a place. If you think about it, in the midst of our busy lives, any quiet place to sit can be our modern-day mango grove.