Here is part 2 of Craig Metcalf’s post on Mindful Awareness. The meditation practice he describes is one piece of vipassana meditation- mindfulness of emotions. A big thank you to Craig for sharing his insight with us all.
The contents of the mind – or, more precisely, what surrounds the mind – is not the mind, itself. The mind is naturally radiant, naturally calm, peaceful and wise. The mind is naturally still. It only comes to movement when we fall victim to the desire for things to be other than they are. When the mind reaches out, so to speak, and latches onto a thought, we lend our mental energy and spiritual power to that thought, causing the delusion that the thought is a reality to solidify. This is why we say that desire, anger and non- wisdom are delusions. They are delusions in the sense that they take us away from the reality right in front of us and catapult us into the non-reality of non-acceptance. This is why giving in to and reacting to heavy emotions such as anger often times leave us feeling weak and wiped out. Such emotions attack our mental energy, depleting our spiritual force and, thereby, deplete bodily energy.
If we’re faced with a problem, the very first step in solving that issue is the acceptance of what is. If we, instead, go straight from recognition that there is a problem to the wanting there to be no problem we have bypassed the most crucial element is problem-solving; peaceful acceptance of what is. It is acceptance of what is that allows the mind to calm down. After calm has set in, we are no longer so reactive to the external issues and we are, therefore, in a much better position to produce much more viable, self-sustaining, and spiritually sound solutions to the problem we’re faced with. On the other hand, if we go directly from recognition to railing against reality, our “solutions” will arise from a reactionary mind. Such a mind will, at best, produce “band-aid” effects for the problem and will lack the spiritual force for sustainability which arises from peaceful acceptance.
Peaceful acceptance doesn’t mean that we don’t try and correct life’s issues that arise from time to time. Rather, it means that we have accepted what is and can now move on to viable solutions. If, for instance, we get a flat tire we may be able to peacefully accept what has happened. We don’t become angry or upset and we just know that this is what happens sometimes if we own a car. However, peacefully accepting the situation doesn’t mean that we won’t try and change the tire. We don’t just accept and then abandon the entire vehicle. No, we first peacefully accept what has happened and then move towards a solution. This may seem like a small point or a trite example but any time spent in such a situation in a state of non-acceptance, perhaps even being angry at the tire or the nail we ran over, is time we will not see again. Every moment is precious. In this way mindful awareness and, thereby, peaceful acceptance allows us to get on with life and live it more fully and with greater meaning.
Practicing this way, we don’t allow non-reality to rob us of our life. Instead, we abide peacefully with what is, fully accepting each moment as it unfolds. Such mindful awareness and peaceful acceptance lead to more stable relationships, a better quality existence, and more profound states of inner peace. It all boils down to knowing your self from the inside out. The more we know about our selves, the more we know about everyone and everything. I hope you will try this practice and enjoy its many benefits. Peace.