Towards a meditative mind
Posted on June 22nd, 2010

Sunil Vijayapala Australia

Do we ever ask ourselves, we never have time for idle chatterƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ or we never have time for watching a cricket match played for days?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  But weƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ are too eager toƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ state ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”we never have time for meditation as we are too busyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The content of this article applies to anyone who is interested in meditation, irrespective of being a Muslim, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist or belonging to any other creed.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The mind, the swiftest, speediest entity in the universe is far more inclined to indulge on desires to satisfy itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s needs rather than be pinned onƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  to a more sedate or contemplative state.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The sedate state, the mind abhors is the state of concentration or state of serenity meditation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Here we intend to disassociate the mind from ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”meƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ or ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ or ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”I amƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ or ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”selfƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and treat it as an undisciplined child who should be tamed.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ At this point the question arises as to who really is making an attempt to discipline the mind, whether itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s the mind within or mind without.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Out of the four components of mind namely feeling, perception, formations and consciousness, consciousness plays a supreme role and the major player of mind.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Maybe itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s 99% of mind or a bit less and duality of consciousness Moral and Immoral manifests on our day to day actions involving mental, verbal and bodily activities, fulfilling skillful and unskillful thinking, speech and bodily actions respectively.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ When we say we attempt to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”controlƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ our mind does this mean that the moral consciousness overpowers the immoral consciousness or conversely when the mind is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”uncontrolledƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ the immoral consciousness dominates the moral consciousness?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  An outside entity, in the form of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ or ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”selfƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ which attempts to control, can be ruled out without much debate once this duality of consciousness is taken into consideration.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  When we drag the immoral or unskillful consciousness and pin it from roaming over worldly phenomena, say watching ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ TV or enjoying a glass of wine and having an argument with friends, to a state of concentration on skillful activity such as to observe breathing it unconsciously drifts from moral to immoral consciousness on a mindless mission.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why does this happen and what is the cause?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The simple answer is that mind needs to be trained to be on a particular track and tends to be forgetful as it lacks the practice of mindfulness.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Lack of mindfulness is the cause of lack of concentration or meditation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  So even before we take our first step to concentration or meditation, mindfulness needs to be practiced thoroughly.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Mindfulness is being conscious of day to day activities we engage in such as waking up, brushing teeth, washing our limbs, eating, defecating and urinating, walking,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ working, sleeping etc. etc.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  To train mindfulness, we need to be mindful of each and every activity without being forgetful, or being drifted or being swayed.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Suppose we think of something which needs to be done at work while we engage in the activity of brushing teeth the mind should switch from mindfulness of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”brushingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, the current activity, to the subject of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”thinkingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and once that thinking part is over, mindfulness can be directed back to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”brushingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  So long as you are aware that you have consciously moved from brushing to thinking and back to brushing, at that point you have taken the first step towards mindfulness. If you drift without being aware of the drift, at any of those moments then you are in a state of mindlessness.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This training of mind is an extremely difficult exercise for a beginner as he/she forgets the specific activity he/she was engaged in and loses mindfulness with time.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  But as this taming goes on and on daily on a disciplined basis, finally you reach a stage where all activities or actions can be monitored with ease and certainty.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ At this juncture one may to switch from mindfulness to concentration, without ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ discarding mindfulness, as it plays a significant continuous role on day to day functions and to keep the mind in a sound state.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Concentrating on a neutral object such as a coloured disk which does not arouse desires or observing ones breathing is desirable in a suitable quiet environment.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The conditions necessary for successful concentration is not confined to mindfulness but should include seclusion from the five strands ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ pleasure namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue and body, and also overcoming ill will, laziness, restlessness and doubt(about cause and effect, this world and next world etc.).ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  All efforts will be futile if someone who is about to be engaged in concentration is diverting his/her attention to sensual desire or anger say towards a being or object, which should be immediately dispelled or suppressed before the concentration session commences.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  From thereon itƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s a daily practice of mindfulness from the time you wake up and devoting at least 30 minutes to one hour for serious concentration.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The mind gradually will settle down and higher mental states can be achieved as time goes by, with the avoidance of too much exertion and too many expectations within a short period of time.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ This period can be compared to a farmer attempting to add too much manure to his crop expecting quick and unexpected yields.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The plant will take its own natural order and time to produce seeds or fruits and the farmer needs just to watch and observe and remove any weeds (in the case of a contemplative, removing mind pollutants or fermentations) to reap good results.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Serenity meditation is purely a mechanical exercise and the first goal in concentration is to calm or tranquil the body, a mandatory requirement.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  With basic good conduct mental images may begin to appear and you may switch your focus to these images.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  These images, temporary in nature, may remain or disappear however you need to continue observe your breathing.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  While you meditate observing your breath, apart from your breath movement, the rest of body to a certain degree is at ease and the only ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”disturbanceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ is mainly due to the movement of your chest.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In the case of observing the breath, the emphasis should be at the sensation of air striking at the tip of the nose inwards and outwards and to concentrate on the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”extentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of in and out breaths.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Calming the coarse movement of in breath an out breath through counting or some other technique with much practice eventually leads to joy and rapture in MIND along with pleasure in BODY and the mind becomes happy and get concentrated.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is the first level of concentration a person reaches and it involves a disciplined effort by the practitioner.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As you master these techniques and enjoy the fruits of your first attempt at concentration, someday you may fall into a state of concentration without an effort.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This new development indicates that you have reached a higher level, the second stage of concentration and you will be relieved as it was obtained without much effort on your part.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ You may fear that you may now fall back to the first level or beyond and ponder on joy and pleasure you experience as a very temporary states and would like to move away from mental joy and reach a higher state and just focus on the pleasure experience only through body, partial equanimity.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This is the third level of concentration. Once you master this level from getting into and out of it with ease you may want to get over even the pleasure experienced by the body and be totally even both in mind and body.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Once you reach this state of mind you have entered the fourth state, total equanimity of both mind and body and experience absolute peace and one pointed ness.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Further meditation levels are possible to relinquish both mind and body however this fourth level under serenity meditation is adequate to reach higher mental states to contemplate on impermanence and so fourth and continue further on still higher form of meditation called insight meditation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  This exercise may take one week, one month, one year or the whole life time depending on the past experience of an individual.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Let us now deviate from the core topic of meditation and move to ponder on some aspects of our glorious mind.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Does the mind need a physical base for its existence?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Acquisition of qualities of heart transplant donors by the recipients have thrown some weight to an old theory which existed from ancient times, that mind exists in the heart.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Research on neuro sensory activities have shown that the signals received and sent from the heart ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ to other parts of the body is far greater than from the brain to the rest of the body!ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Can mind survive out side the body or is the domain of mind is in the brain or heart?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  MindƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ uses organs such as the brain or heart to manifest itself however the mandatory requirement of a physical base for the mind to exist has not been proved up to now.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mind uses the sensitive organs too to reach out into the world in search of pleasure.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Mind however does not exist by itself.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is conditioned or created by internal and external factors, moment by moment.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  For instance for eye consciousness to arise a sensitive eye and a visible object must be present.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  A blind man is deprived of vision or a deaf person is deprived of ear consciousness. This means mind has a fleeting temporary existence and is created from moment to moment and so is our body as the physiology of the body changes moment to moment.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Just as we see a motion picture as a continuous stream consisting of individual frames this body and mind is in a continuous flux, changing from moment to moment.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  In this continuous stream mode we see and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in motion however if we take a snap shot of the body and mind and freeze in time, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”IƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ disappears and we need no longer cling on to a me, mine or self.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ To summarize;ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  we need to be of good conduct before we begin meditation and mindfulness is the precursor for meditation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We need to meditate to see things as they really are.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  We need to see things as they really are to develop a detachment and dispassion towards body, mind and everything for final liberation.

2 Responses to “Towards a meditative mind”

  1. De Costa Says:

    Death of mind is birth of wisdom – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Mind should be subservient to the Heart. The Meditative Mind is subservient to the Heart. ”Heart” is a fine, good, feeling and must rule. Striving for “Heart Rule” is the purpose of life for each human being.

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