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Selections from Meditation: A Simple 8-Point Program for Translating Spiritual Ideals into Daily Life by Eknath Easwaran, founder and director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, copyright 1978, 1991. Reprinted by permission of Nilgiri Press, Tomales, California. All rights reserved.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Augustine's words speak plainly: 'I can tell my hand what to do and it will do it instantly. Why won't my mind do what I say?'"

Eknath Easwaran, Meditation, Part 4

If this body is like the body of a car, the mind is the engine - the most important part of the vehicle. As such, we ought to give it special attention and care. After all, you can get along with a Model T body look at the last years of Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Bernard Shaw - if you have a Ferrari engine. But so many people who want a Ferrari body are content to keep an old Model T engine putt-putting along inside it. Most of their attention goes to externals: chrome hubcaps, bordeaux cherry vinyl seats, geodesic paint jobs, velveteen steering wheel covers, little dolls that shake their hula skirts in the back window. What is the good of all that if the pistons are worn out and your engine won't perform? We need minds that are powerful, lucid, capable of discrimination.

And we need minds that will follow directions, not ones that are rebellious. Suppose I come out one morning, start up my car, and drive off to give a talk on meditation in Milpitas, south of San Francisco. As soon as I cross the Golden Gate Bridge, my car veers east towards Interstate 80. I keep trying to turn the wheel, but there is tremendous resistance - the steering mechanism is ignoring me. "Milpitas!" I protest. "We're supposed to be going to Milpitas!" But the car only roars insolently, "Reno! Reno! We're going to Reno!" Then I think I hear it snicker, "Why not sit back and enjoy the ride?"

Would we put up with that? Well, no . not from our cars. But most of us do from our minds. In theory we would like the mind to listen to us obediently, but in fact it will not - chiefly because we have never taught it how. Augustine's words speak plainly: "I can tell my hand what to do and it will do it instantly. Why won't my mind do what I say?"

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