During Lesson 1 we discussed how Mindfulness Meditation can change our brain, how the pathways in our brain are not fixed.
Have you found that meditation has had an effect on your life?
Meditation is a process of letting go, not accumulating, it is not another skill or possession that we can add to our list. It’s just the opposite, meditation is about undoing the years of mental habits we have all accumulated, it is about teaching us how to let go, to bring us to a natural state of happiness and peace. If we approach meditation with the idea that we will gain something then we will be disappointed, because the very act of wanting to gain, even in our meditation practice, will turn our attention in the wrong direction and stop our meditation progressing.
Our attachment to our thinking, emotions and problems cause us not to experience peace in our life, this is because these attachments cloud our mind and colour our perception. In the same way that a storm will block out the brightness of the sun and the stillness of the sky, making the world appear dark, closed in and damp. In the same way negative thinking and emotions stop us from experiencing the radiant glow and stillness of a mind freed from them.
To experience the peace that comes from meditation we need to travel in the direction opposite to how we normally live our lives, we need to head towards simplicity, to give up instead of accumulating. This does not mean giving all our possessions away, our career or life, what it means is changing our relationship to these things, to one of non attachment, non clinging, non control, even if it means just holding this type of thinking during the period of the meditation.
Through entering the meditation practice with the intention to let go we will find that our meditation practice will naturally deepen. If we hear a sound we should just say “no thanks, not interested”, feel an itch, experience an emotion or a thought just say “no thanks, not interested”, treat any experience that happens, whether you perceive it as being good or bad, as none of your business, then non clinging will occur and your mind will move towards tranquillity naturally.
Imagine you were trying to cross a lake in a row boat, but you didn’t bother to untie the boat from its mooring. No matter how hard you rowed the boat you would not get anywhere, why? Because you are still tied to the shore you are trying to row away from. In the same way if you want to meditate to experience stillness and peace, but you continue to cling to your experience of the world, then no matter how hard you try you won’t progress because you are clinging onto the very thing that you are trying to leave.
Our brains are pliable, they are designed to change, our personality is not fixed. We are all a blank slate waiting to be filled, we are not our conditioned ways of reacting, being conditioned they can be changed. We can all be who we want to be, we can all change our dominant personality traits to become who we want to be. We are who we are because we have exercised those personality traits, in the same way as they are exercised they can be starved and the type of person we want be developed. We all have that power and meditation provides the platform and tools to do it.