It is only by being able to follow your mind and its movements with your higher self that you can catch it or notice it behaving in a distracting way, or even badly. Of course, as mentioned, meditation and the attainment of a tranquil treasure mind is the master key to this. But then, in daily life, when we get busy and disturbed by the problems and worries symptomatic of worldly life, we need to be able to watch or survey the movements of the mind. This requires us to be totally self-honest and able to admit that we do have negative and perhaps damaging thoughts about other people and even about ourselves. We may be easily able to deny that we have such thoughts, but there are so many possible sources of them that it is rare that all beings don’t experience them no matter how enlightened and evolved they are.
So, first, we have to accept that we are not perfect, not untouched by the three poisons of hatred, greed and ignorance. Then, when a thought sneaks into our mind, simply notice it and repent. Regret for being jealous or envious, for hating, for having greedy thoughts, is perfectly forgivable, but it is you who must do the forgiving. You must forgive yourself and move on. Such thoughts are like gravel or pebbles that flow around your feet in the rapidly moving stream of Dharma. We notice them and they flow on down stream. You must notice them and then detach and start again.
If we are totally honest with ourselves we can make a strong foundation for installing the filter of mindfulness. We filter the negative to preserve the tranquil mind. Cleaning out the filter from time to time is our purification by detachment. If the mind is to be completely empty and devoid of cravings of any kind, then the filter needs to be in place all the time, and requires regular cleaning. This continuing process will eventually reveal to you your sparkling Buddha Nature, like a diamond in the dirt found by accident.
Generosity with material items like money and property, etc. is a great way of polishing your Bodhi mind and remaining mindful. You give what you have to others, and they give back to you. You trust that the universe will provide for you as you provide for others and it. Giving time is a precious gesture in today’s busy world. Please spend time with people giving them your undivided attention and your compassion. They are part of you remember. You have lived and will live through their very sufferings, so the bond is unconditional between you and others. Your experience of life is the most opulent of gifts, so give freely of this, and of your listening to every word they say.
With time you can train yourself to divert the negative emotions and thoughts that arise in your mind unbidden. Returning to the Buddha or the Dharma Protectors of Heaven and Earth will awaken you. Gratitude for your existence, your ancestors, all your teachers no matter what they have taught you, will snap you away from such delusions. There are many mantras you can repeat to get you back to your Bodhi mind.
So, today, when your mind is carried off by a pointless worry or regret, or an anxiety about the future, please catch it with your fingers and gently accept it, and then let it go. You can smile your Buddha smile as you see it floating off down the Dharma stream. Your sincerity with yourself is the only way to open up the path, so why not just be entirely honest right now!