We are often taught to approach meditation with a discipline that includes sitting with our spines erect and eyes closed. To enter a space of blankness, clearing the mind of all distractions. This is the basic idea to be free from all that weights down the soul from entering into the abyss of divine union. Meditating to be free from thought and achieve a state of clear mindfulness, a silence state of pure receptivity.
I learned to cultivate another approach, one that embraces all the noise as a witness. It still requires a straight spine and closed eyes with gentle mindful breathing. But instead of clearing thoughts to be entertain later, or banishing them with a focused repetition of a mantra, to allow the act of witnessing awareness to be the focus. To become a simple witness to the activity. A watcher of the mind without judgement or involvement.
This understanding provides that all that arises within the mind is also welcome as part of me in union. It may seem strange at first to sit in equipoise, nonresistant and peaceful as the mind unloads its fears, worries and to-do lists. But rather than engage these ideas or fight to toss them aside, entering into the element of the watcher is very powerful. Witnessing as an act can elevate the need for combat, releasing conflict with an easy acceptance to see what is being presented. The watcher observes the thoughts passing, lingering and halting. In the way cloud formations may pass over head in the sky. Without effort theses thoughts often diminish after being acknowledged and resolutions quickly arrive in their place, if needs.
Giving the mind the space to become quite by just witnessing its activity is a loving act of service. Provided the thoughts are not becoming invitations to be entangled or engaged in terms of problem solving. Remaining completely detached as a witness to the movements of the mind is like watching waves come into the shore that then retreat once again, then replaced by more waves of thoughts, still just watching.
This practice of cultivating a witnessing consciousness is beneficial beyond a meditation practice. This type of awareness allows the mind to be more creative by offering a calm inner landscape to perceive our daily lives. Witnessing consciousness has the ability to keep emotions from taking over in heated situations and reduces stress during daily challenges within our modern multi-tasking lifestyles. Watching the mind is practice that takes time to cultivate. With repetition and focused this awareness reveals benefits that become obvious.
It is like sitting in the wildness of your own mind. Freedom comes not by chasing away what disturbs or running from it, but through being still and watching. The truth of this practice is that we are already free by our very nature and we have only to allow its recognition. Here's to remembering our inner freedom is only one meditation away and to enjoy that freedom one only has to be willing to witness its truth.
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