In a previous post we explored the need for honesty in quieting the mind and attaining deeper states in meditation. This is, however, just one side of the coin. The other side is what we can learn about our mind and our psychology from observing the contents of our mental processes during meditation. Again though, in order to be successful, ruthless honesty is a prerequisite.
While meditating the mind frequently jumps in and usurps attention. We can try to ignore it and that is very useful, but we can also take a different tack and investigate its content. This can be revelatory. It can provide great insights into the nature of our mental processes and what is most important to us. But, we have to do it with honesty and sincerity.
When we become aware that our mind has been wandering, rather than returning to quieting the mind look at the mental content that came up during mind wandering. Investigate how you got to this particular content. Trace the train of thought that brought you to this point. What initiated the mind wandering in the first place and what were the series of associations and leaps.
Now ask yourself why was this content elicited. Why was this somehow important to the mind that it brought this particular content into awareness. Often it is simple and mundane such as an environmental sound attracting attention away from focus and the train of thought that follows is fairly linear and straightforward. But often it is not so obvious. That is where investigation can be quite revealing. Ask yourself, why did this particular content come up and why is this somehow important to the mind.
This can lead to understanding deep inner needs, unresolved issues and conflicts, and unrealized emotions. The mind is seeking them out and that is an important clue. Pursue it deeply and honestly. It can reveal much about yourself, some of which you may not like, but understanding that whatever it is, it is somehow important to you. Open to it and learn.
Most of our practice should be focused on calming the mind. But, occasionally investigating what arises even though were trying to stay quiet, can lead to greater understanding and can actually lead to a better ability to calm the mind in the future.
Let’s be honest and look at ourselves deeply and clearly.