Contemplative practice requires total honesty, not with others, but with ourselves. Our minds can invent all kinds of bogus reasons for anything. It takes insight and the willingness to be brutally honest to take maximum advantage of the fruits of contemplative practice.
The first honest admission is that we cannot control our minds. This is a radical idea for most as we believe that we have complete control. So we try and try and try to control it without success. A little reflection will unveil the truth. It’s not under our control. So, rather than go to war against the mind, successful contemplative practice demands that we be are completely honest with ourselves and admit, that we can’t control it.
That admission, by itself, can lead to a much more relaxed approach to our practice. In fact, the only effective way to actually quiet the mind is to stop trying to control it. Just watch it do its thing. If you do, you’ll be amazed at how thoughts just appear, seemingly from nowhere, and fade away into nothingness.
The second honest admission is that we cannot understand what it is that’s observing our mind during our practice. It’s a clear and present experience, but the mind cannot grasp it. We need to honestly admit that we just don’t know. We can then relax into the mystery that is our awareness, without constant mental chatter in a vain attempt to categorize it, explain it, theorize about it, or even clearly view it.
The third honest admission is that the past and the future are irrelevant to contemplative practice. The only thing that matters is present moment experience. If we honestly admit that everything but the now is unnecessary we can begin to stop trying to achieve something in the future or to reinstate or recover a previous experience. We can simply concentrate solely on what is our immediate experience. We can watch them arising out of nothing and falling away, into the same void. We can become enamored with the wonder of it and simply enjoy the miracle of being.
So, let’s be honest. It doesn’t hurt, but it can reveal truths beyond the mental delusions.