Wednesday, October 15, 2003

The Spiritual Path of Honesty

When people think of meditation they often think of concentration practices. That is one form of meditation practice, but not the only type. I generally like to follow extremely structured meditation practices, called sadhanas, with a period of mindfulness meditation.

In concentration meditation practice we learn to regain control of the mind enough so that it is sufficiently calm to allow meditation to take place. The practice is not the meditation, but rather the process that creates auspicious conditions for meditation to arise.

In mindfulness meditation practices the goal is to become familiar with the activity of one's mind. What is your mind usually up to? I find mine to often be engaged with attempts to establish the concreteness or importance of my existence. It is of course a goal that has no culmination since it pursues the confirmation of a falsehood, but still my mind seems pretty good at keeping itself busy with the attempt.

In mindfulness meditation practices we don't try to control the mind, we just watch. We say to mind, "I won't try to hold you here. Go ahead and run around all you like. I will just watch." The key thing that makes it meditative is that we do not follow after the mind, letting it drag us around as if it was in charge not us. Instead we center ourselves in spirit, our true identity, and watch the mind the same way we might watch our hands move as we type on a keyboard.

Becoming familiar with your mind is a key step on the path of truth and honesty, enlightenment. In enlightenment we see things as they really are, not as we have been conditioned to see them, not as we have agreed to pretend life is. We are rigorously honest in thought, word and deed. Watch your mind and you will begin to learn the truth of your experience and the nature of your being.

[orignally published at]

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