Lying Moods

“Our moods lie to us constantly. We shouldn’t take this mind and its opinions as our guide, because it doesn’t know the truth.” – From A Taste of Freedom by Ven. Ajanh Chah

This is something that all mature adults realize at some point. Sometimes our mind tells us that we’ll be happy if we follow its compass of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It says, “This feels good. Let’s have more!” or, “I don’t like this. Let’s do something else.” I can only imagine how disastrous my life would be if I were to follow this compass 100% of the time.

For me, this shows that my moods and thoughts are ultimately unreliable. If this is true, where may the truth be found? Ajahn Chah’s answer, according to his student Jack Kornfield, is in discovering “the one who knows.” Or perhaps we may discover the answer by contemplating the old Zen koan, “What is your original face before you are born?” However we choose to express it, the fact remains that our small sense of sense is just that — small. The truth, by comparison, is much bigger.


Filed under Buddhism, Religion & Philosophy

2 responses to “Lying Moods

  1. Jacks,
    That’s true and very deep. I wish that I could separate myself from my moods more often, especially considering I feel like I DO know “the one who knows.” Or at least, I feel like He knows me. But this post makes me re-wonder something I’ve often thought of: is the separation of one’s self from one’s moods, thoughts, emotions, etc. a more doable task for males than for females? I’ve often heard men talk about this, but I think it’s more difficult for women. It goes along with the “men are like waffles, women are like spaghetti” thing…for a woman, everything is connected. How does she separate even breathing and being conscious from her moods and opinions and thoughts? But men supposedly compartmentalize everything, and I once read a magazine article where the male author explained that men have an “empty” box that they can go into and just not think at all. If this is true, I believe this is a great advantage to your gender. The fairer sex, I believe, do not have that option.

  2. Jackson

    Hi Joy Chi,

    You bring up some interesting points. I don’t know if one’s ability to effectively compartmentalize their moods from other aspects of their personality can be categorized as ‘male’ as opposed to ‘female’. Though, I do think that one’s temperament is the basis for how they deal with their thoughts, feelings, and moods. I like the analogy you used, though. I hope that I’m not too waffley, because the spaghetti perspective has a lot to offer.

    I think the point that Ajahn Chah is making points to that which transcends our moods. What Chah calls “the one who knows” is the ’emptiness’ or ‘void’ that is spoken of in Buddhism. It is the space of awareness that welcomes the whole of experience and pays kind attention to every sensation in each passing moment. Viewing this from a Christian lens, I would lean toward describing ‘the one who knows’ as the mercy of God in all of creation, the Holy Spirit, the source of compassion in the midst of violent adversity. Of course, Christ embodied this quality in the gospel narratives. Either way, it speaks of truth in the midst of delusion.

    Thanks for your comment!

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