Observing the mind sounds like something we all do constantly. But I have come to see that this is far from true.
Simply because your mind is active and full of constantly changing thoughts and emotions, does not make one mindful of what is actually occurring.
Sometimes I notice I am feeling sad or depressed, and really have no idea why. So my mind starts to form stories to accommodate these feelings. It all begins to make sense, and my feelings intensify as I feed into this story.
But in combination of my practice, teachings from Bhante Sujatha, Bhante Samita, Bhante Sanyatha, Bhikkhuni Vimala, and Bhikkhuni Madika, along with daily dhamma study; I have found that this is not observing the mind.
In fact, it is quite the opposite as I create stories and then begin to tailspin out of awareness.
Soon, wrapped in a cocoon of dukkha, I slide deeper into depression with feelings of anger, resentment and helplessness.
So how do I stop this harmful process from happening over and over again?
The first words that come to mind, are “let it begin with me”. This takes the focus off of external forces and other people and brings it back home. The second thing that occurs, is Bhante Sujatha’s ABC’s of Buddhist practice. Accept, Be mindful, and Cultivate.
By first accepting that I have these feelings, I can forget about adding a storyline. By being mindful, I can view these emotions as a passive observer. Simply accepting that they are present in this moment. And also being mindful that just as this feeling arose, it will also depart.
And lastly, to cultivate is to having loving kindness towards the self and return to the intention of benefiting all living beings.
I know this may sound very simple, and it really is. But simple does not mean easy.
Observing the mind, I believe, is a learned process that needs to be developed. I think meditation is very helpful in accomplishing this. Meditation lays a foundation for our practice.
Meditation is a time for nothingness. Simply observing the mind.
And the more that each of us practice this, the easier it becomes for us to observe the mind.
Mindfulness is awareness. Awareness is compassion and acceptance.
This I think is the path to awakening.
May you each be well, happy and peaceful.