Unguarded Thoughts

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts Buddha

What does it mean to have unguarded thoughts? Does this mean that our thoughts should be imprisoned? Or does it mean that we should be more mindful of our thoughts?

Some say that Buddha means we should be positive and keep our negative thoughts in check. Others say that our mind will beat us up if we allow self-destructive thoughts in. These are very basic interpretations of what takes place in our mind.

Bearing in mind that we are beings of body, soul and spirit; thinking is a soul activity and in our soul, thoughts usually take place automatically. It is only when we elevate our thinking that it becomes a spiritual activity. When this happens, we become fully conscious of our thoughts. Until this happens, many thoughts take place in our mind of which we are unaware. These are thoughts that we are conditioned to think through our upbringing and social environment. Many of these thoughts damage us, and will continue to damage us until we become aware of them.

As soon as we become aware of all our inner thoughts, we will wonder why we ever thought that way. Buddha’s word ‘unguarded’ could mean conscious awareness. He could have been saying: your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unconscious thoughts.

Here is the full quote.

As the fletcher whittles
And makes straight his arrows,
So the master directs
His straying thoughts.

Like a fish out of water,
Stranded on the shore,
Thoughts thrash and quiver,
For how can they shake off desire?
They tremble, they are unsteady,
They wander at their own will.

It is good to control them,
And to master them brings happiness.

But how subtle they are,
How elusive!

The task is to quieten them,
And by ruling them to find happiness.

With single-mindedness
The master quells his thoughts.

He ends their wandering.

Seated in the cave of the heart,
He finds freedom.

How can a troubled mind
Understand the way?

Guatama Buddha

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