We have now come to part 3 of the four foundations of Mindfulness. We have practiced mindfulness of the “Body” and the “Feelings”, now we take the process one step further. Now we will be headed onto Mindfulness of the “Mind”. Period. Full stop. You read that correctly we are going to use the instrument of consciousness to observe the instrument of consciousness.
The audience eye-rolling is so heavy right now my pc just turned over. So let’s take a minute to flesh this out. When you are thinking, you have an inner dialogue, you may even ask and answer your own questions, and on occasions you may get answers. All in an completely inner sense, because lets’s be honest if you didn’t you would most likely get carted off to a facility, with medications and coloring books. We all do it, and it is natural to do so. The point this illustrates is that, though you are thinking to generate this inner dialogue there is still yet another point of view at play here. A man behind the curtain (If you don’t get the Wizard of Oz reference… are you even trying?) if you will. This observer is closer to the “I” or “Self” entity that we identify as ourselves, and we will use this person to perform this next practice of Mindfulness.
The idea is to use the mind to observe the mind. Pretty straight forward and in the spirit of the meditation challenge in mental noting is the word of the day here. The only difference here is we’re noting the mind and it’s movements. If you’re mad think “Why am I mad?”, when you find the source for that anger find out what led to it, “Where did this come from?” . Think of it like watching a slide show… just let all the things pass in front of you, make that note and move to the next, as it comes, each thought in turn. The goal here is to eliminate the subject v. object situation that is usually the average course of thought. This approach to Mindfulness is so simple that it’s hard.
Things you may find here are “Wow my anger, sadness, happiness, etc. all come back to X”, its usually at this point I feel like a big old dummy for not seeing the elephant in the room. Once the thing is clearly outlined and identified the work of addressing it. Now where you go from there is entirely up to you. A good litmus test here is to ask yourself “Can I fix this situation?”. If the answer is “No”, then, work with Letting Go. If the answer is “Yes” then, get out there and do the thing! This is all part of learning how we tick, and really owning our practice. Enjoy!