Examining The Mind
To Become Compassionate and Skilled Doctor to Our Own Minds!
Notice the Results of Your Choices—Your Motivation (seeds) àActionsà Results (effects)
Observe Habits Of Mind, Emotions And Actions (Your Choices) And Their Effects. Observe your intentional actions. Such actions leave imprints on your mind (seeds of a certain pattern of thinking) that influence what you will experience in the future.
Conclusion: Determine to observe your motivations and actions so you create the causes of happiness and avoid the causes of suffering.
Notice the Causes of Our Present Problems
Our unsatisfactory experience has causes—the disturbing attitudes and negative emotions in our mind. Have the aspiration for yourself:
In all actions I will examine my mind
And the moment a disturbing attitude or habit pattern arises,
Endangering myself and others,
I will firmly confront and avert it.
For each one, consider:
· How does it cause you problems now by unrealistically interpreting events in your life?
· How does it bring about future unhappiness by making you create the cause for future problems?
· What antidotes (new ways of thinking and acting) can you apply when it arises in your mind? Practice/visualize new ways in your reflection times. Then try them out in your daily life.
· Which one of these is the strongest for you? Have an especially strong aspiration to be aware of and to counteract this one.
1. Attachment: exaggerating or projecting good qualities and then clinging to the object.
2. Anger: exaggerating or projecting bad qualities and then wishing to harm or get away from what makes us miserable.
3. Pride: an inflated sense of self that makes us feel we are either the best or the worst of all.
4. Ignorance: a lack of clarity regarding the nature of things and active misconceptions about the nature of reality of our choices and their effects.
This is confronting the negative emotion or disturbing attitude. Then we must also avert it, that is, to apply the antidote (like for a poison).
· For attachment, we meditate on impermanence and the ugly aspect of whatever we’re attached to.
· For anger, we meditate on patience, perspective, acceptance and love.
· For jealousy, we meditate on rejoicing over other people’s successes.
· For doubt, we meditate on the breath and to calm our mind.
Following this process means, “I’m going to be a doctor to my own mind!”
Conclusion: Seeing the damage these disturbing attitudes and negative emotions cause in your life, develop the determination to be aware of their arising and to learn and practice the antidotes to them.
A personal example: I was cleaning the garage (to be used to assemble cabinets) and kitchen in preparation for a partial kitchen remodel of our home. I got up early before my companion and cleaned the garage. My companion had volunteered to help me, but I wanted to begin early. I had a compulsive mindset and when I finished cleaning the garage, I thought of going into the kitchen and starting there. I noticed that I was feeling like a martyr or victim, “Oh, poor me I have to do this alone.” I felt like I wasn’t getting all of the help that I wanted—so my mind emphasized thoughts of separation, frustration, grudge holding and anger. I paused and tuned inside. I realized that this was an old pattern (being passive and not expressing what I want—and not allowing others to meet my needs according to their preferences—then stomping around and sighing and then doing everything myself). If I want my needs to be met I need to ask, to make a request—and really, my companion was willing to help—if I just asked. They could not read my mind! This pausing, tuning inward, thinking of options and trying them out really worked. As soon as I asked for help I received it and the kitchen was prepared for remodeling. My deeper unskillful mental patterns were also being remodeled too.
Remember, you are NOT your disturbing attitudes (although you have them)—they are patterns of thoughts and emotions—and CAN be changed. Give yourself credit for even being willing to look at this mental/emotional process.
Copyright © 2001-2017 Bob Wilson BS, DTR All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!