Q. I am haunted by my past and feel as if it is holding me back from my future. Repeatedly experiencing my past trauma is very infuriating and terrible. How can I let go of the pain that I feel?

A. Being haunted by your past is not different from being haunted by the nightmare you had the previous night. Both mean that you are being deluded by illusions since you cannot bring them to the present moment even if you are offered a huge reward for it. This attests to the fact that your past is not real but imaginary and cannot inflict on you unless you are deluded by it.

One day the Second Patriarch, before his enlightenment, said to the first Patriarch Bodhidharma, his master, “My mind is still not comfortable. Please, make it comfortable.” Bodhidharma said, “Bring me your mind and I will make it comfortable.” The Second Patriarch answered, “I cannot find it even though I’ve looked for it diligently.” The First Patriarch responded, “I’ve made your mind comfortable now.” This means, “If you cannot find it to bring, you don’t need to be concerned about it because it is not real but just illusionary.” At these words, the Second Patriarch attained enlightenment, which means that he realised that not only his troubled mind but also what troubled his mind was just an illusion.

I’d like to advise you to redirect and focus your attention on a koan whenever you are troubled by your trauma.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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