By: Darren Cross
The primary objective of meditation is to strengthen awareness. The natural extension of meditation in daily life is “mindfulness”. Very often in daily life our consciousness drifts to conversations and events of the past or hopes and fears of the future. Mindfulness in my estimation is a steadfast effort to remain in the PRESENT however, mindfulness can only be achieved when one has cultivated peace of mind, therefore CALM is the captain that will steer the ship to its ultimate destination.
My life experiences have taught me that prayer, introspection, and watchfulness are prerequisite requirements for cultivating true peace of mind. When practicing meditation we are instructed to watch our thoughts without judgement or engagement, it’s advised to take on the attitude of an unbiased silent observer. This is a very difficult practice but one that is most important. When you find yourself judging or engaging your thoughts, calmly bring your attention back to “watchfulness” and carry on. Do not be disappointed with yourself, do not beat yourself up, do not strain yourself, sincere effort is the only requirement.
There’s a great deal that can be said regarding the short and long term benefits of this great practice however (so that I stay on subject) let it suffice to inform the practitioner that this practice is strengthening their mental and emotional awareness. Being watchful of your thoughts and emotions should be practiced in every aspect of your daily life. With time, effort and patience your strengthened awareness will begin to transform all of your undesirable traits that rob you of peace of mind. There will be many occasions throughout the course of your day when your attention drifts and you internally lose focus of your best self, this is natural and forgivable :), carry on!
At the end of your day practice introspection. “Allow all of the events of the day to pass through your mind”. Make a special note of the times when you should have thought better, spoken better or did better, this is in regards to dealing with others and yourself. Stop complaining and being overly critical of others (obviously there are times when stating your grievance is warranted) therefore I am not speaking of those serious instances however, here’s a question. Are you aware of how much you complain throughout the course of your day? Here’s a practice to help strengthen your awareness/mindfulness: throughout the course of the day begin keeping count of how many times you complain about something you could have calmly overlooked or peacefully accepted, even if the complaint only happens in your thoughts, count it! This practice should be extended especially to being judgmental or harshly critical of others. There are few things worse that rob the soul of its goodness than that of always seeing the bad in others!
Meditation is much more than closing your eyes for a few minutes watching thoughts or counting breaths, it is the noble spiritual discipline of purifying your thoughts and feelings. You can’t command the mind to be still if you have a troubled heart. The practice and ultimate attainment of mindfulness is a PROCESS. The road is long, the walk arduous, but the journey is beautiful 🙂