Mindfulness is an essential component of concentration and is responsible for the ability of our mind to single-pointedly hold our chosen object of meditation without forgetting. By training in mindfulness gradually the countless distractions and endless thought loops reduce and cease altogether so that we discover our clear, peaceful, and potent mind.
A simple training in mindfulness by meditating on the clarity of the mind
To begin with, your mind will likely be very busy. Don’t be concerned, just observe the flow of thoughts and feelings for a while.
Imagine that your mind is like the sky – vast and unencumbered – and that your thoughts and mental activities are like the clouds. Just as the clouds arise and dissolve back into the sky, so too do our thoughts and feelings arise within the space of our mind and dissolve back into it.
However cloudy the sky, the sky itself always remains a vast blue space and then, when the clouds disperse, the blue sky once again emerges. The mind is similar in that, no matter how busy it seems, it remains a clear, formless continuum and, when the thoughts abate, the clear nature of the mind emerges.
Your thoughts and mental activity arise out of the clarity of the mind and dissolve back into it – a flow of consciousness completely free of colour, form, sound, smell or tactile awareness.
An important technique to develop during this meditation is to observe the thoughts without following them. In order to become proficient is is quite possibly necessary to practise many times. If you do this, distracting thoughts will gradually cease. They arise from the clear nature of the mind and if you observe them dispassionately they will simply blend back into back into the clarity of the mind until they disappear completely.
It is this clarity that is the meditation object. Concentrate on this experience and enjoy the inner peace that arises for the remainder of the meditation session.
When you are ready, arise from the meditation and upon returning to your normal mental activity, try not to lose the feeling of clarity and peace.
Maintain this experience and allow it to penetrate all your thoughts and feelings, so that your mind remains peaceful and positive.
A very special training in mindfulness by way of meditating on our root mind
The object of this meditation is our root mind, located in our heart chakra exactly in the middle of our chest. Imagine your root mind by contemplating its location, function, and nature:
seated in the middle of your heart
the source of all your consciousness
the nature of clarity – a space-like emptiness.
By contemplating these aspects, try to capture an image of your root mind and concentrate upon this. The important point in this meditation is to gather all your awareness in the centre of your heart and let them mix, so that you have the sense of meditating from that point.
In the beginning you will probably be distracted by thoughts, which seem to be in your head. When this happens, let them gently go and allow your awareness to sink down into the middle of your heart. Sometimes it helps to think, that the heart is the natural source of the mind and to imagine that the mind is going “home”.
Everytime thoughts begin to shape, consider them as having arisen out of the clarity of your root mind and observe how they dissolve back into it, just like how waves arise out of the ocean and abate again, merging once again with the ocean. Continue to observe how your thoughts dissolve into the root mind at the centre of your heart, until they cease completely and only clarity remains.
It is this clarity that is the meditation object. Concentrate on this experience and enjoy the inner peace which it generates for the remainder of the meditation session.
As you arise from your meditation and your thoughts return to mental activities, consider them as clear mind, having arisen from your root mind.
Then when negative or deluded thoughts arise, allow them to blend back into the clarity of your mind. In this way you can maintain a clear and positive mind during the meditation break.
Would you like to learn together with an experienced practitioner? At the Kadampa Meditation Centre meditation workshops and meditation evenings are held on a regular basis.
The New Kadampa Tradition – International Kadampa Buddhist Union is an international association of Mahayana Buddhist study and Meditation Centres that follow the Kadampa Buddhist Tradition founded by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.