Training in mindfulness, we learn to be aware of our own mental states without being caught in them. This capacity for self-reflection is the key to Buddhist psychology. When we look at our own mind, we can notice the mental states that predominate, as if we were noticing the weather. Just as a storm can bring rain, wind, and cold, we can observe the clusters of unhealthy states that appear on our bad days. We may find resentment, fear, anger, worry, doubt, envy, or agitation. We can notice how often they arise and how attached we are to their point of view. We can also notice the healthy states in our most free and openhearted periods. We can notice how love, generosity, flexibility, ease, and simplicity are natural to us. These states are important to notice. They give us trust in our original goodness, our own Buddha nature.
“To become your own psychologist,” says Lama Yeshe, “you don’t have to learn some big philosophy. All you have to do is examine your own mind every day. You already examine material things every day—every morning you check out the food in your refrigerator. Why not check out the state of your own mind? Investigating your own mind is much more important!”