Meditation Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => Meditation, Practice And The Path => Topic started by: Matthew on August 10, 2009, 01:23:58 PM

Title: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Matthew on August 10, 2009, 01:23:58 PM
From Mindfulness in Plain English (

Meditation is participatory observation. What you are looking at responds to the process of looking. What you are looking at is you, and what you see depends on how you look. Thus the process of meditation is extremely delicate, and the result depends absolutely on the state of mind of the meditator. The following attitudes are essential to success in practice.

   1.  Don't expect anything. Just sit back and see what happens. Treat the whole thing as an experiment. Take an active interest in the test itself. But don't get distracted by your expectations about results. For that matter, don't be anxious for any result whatsoever. Let the meditation move along at its own speed and in its own direction. Let the meditation teach you what it wants you to learn. Meditative awareness seeks to see reality exactly as it is. Whether that corresponds to our expectations or not, it requires a temporary suspension of all our preconceptions and ideas. We must store away our images, opinions and interpretations someplace out of the way for the duration. Otherwise we will stumble over them.

   2. Don't strain: Don't force anything or make grand exaggerated efforts. Meditation is not aggressive. There is no violent striving. Just let your effort be relaxed and steady.

   3. Don't rush: There is no hurry, so take you time. Settle yourself on a cushion and sit as though you have a whole day. Anything really valuable takes time to develop. Patience, patience, patience.

   4. Don't cling to anything and don't reject anything: Let come what comes and accommodate yourself to that, whatever it is. If good mental images arise, that is fine. If bad mental images arise, that is fine, too. Look on all of it as equal and make yourself comfortable with whatever happens. Don't fight with what you experience, just observe it all mindfully.

   5. Let go: Learn to flow with all the changes that come up. Loosen up and relax.

   6. Accept everything that arises: Accept your feelings, even the ones you wish you did not have. Accept your experiences, even the ones you hate. Don't condemn yourself for having human flaws and failings. Learn to see all the phenomena in the mind as being perfectly natural and understandable. Try to exercise a disinterested acceptance at all times and with respect to everything you experience.

   7. Be gentle with yourself: Be kind to yourself. You may not be perfect, but you are all you've got to work with. The process of becoming who you will be begins first with the total acceptance of who you are.

   8. Investigate yourself: Question everything. Take nothing for granted. Don't believe anything because it sounds wise and pious and some holy men said it. See for yourself. That does not mean that you should be cynical, impudent or irreverent. It means you should be empirical. Subject all statements to the actual test of your experience and let the results be your guide to truth. Insight meditation evolves out of an inner longing to wake up to what is real and to gain liberating insight to the true structure of existence. The entire practice hinges upon this desire to be awake to the truth. Without it, the practice is superficial.

   9. View all problems as challenges: Look upon negatives that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow. Don't run from them, condemn yourself or bear your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem? Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in and investigate.

  10. Don't ponder: You don't need to figure everything out. Discursive thinking won't free you from the trap. In mediation, the mind is purified naturally by mindfulness, by wordless bare attention. Habitual deliberation is not necessary to eliminate those things that are keeping you in bondage. All that is necessary is a clear, non-conceptual perception of what they are and how they work. That alone is sufficient to dissolve them. Concepts and reasoning just get in the way. Don't think. See.

  11. Don't dwell upon contrasts: Differences do exist between people, but dwelling upon them is a dangerous process. Unless carefully handled, it leads directly to egotism. Ordinary human thinking is full of greed, jealousy and pride. A man seeing another man on the street may immediately think, "He is better looking than I am." The instant result is envy or shame. A girl seeing another girl may think, "I am prettier than she is." The instant result is pride. This sort of comparison is a mental habit, and it leads directly to ill feeling of one sort or another: greed, envy, pride, jealousy, hatred. It is an unskillful mental state, but we do it all the time. We compare our looks with others, our success, our accomplishments, our wealth, possessions, or I.Q. and all these lead to the same place--estrangement, barriers between people, and ill feeling.

This answers many questions arising for beginners and is a good reminder to seasoned vets too.

In the Dhamma,

Title: Re: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Luna Serene on August 11, 2009, 09:17:12 PM
This is a lovely post, Mindfulness In Plain English sounds like a good book to read, and its always good to get a friendly nudge in the right direction :)
Title: Re: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Matthew on August 12, 2009, 11:50:54 PM
You can buy it from the Wisdom Books for £6 something online here: (

Alternatively it's free online as an ebook linked from the library section.

Title: Re: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Andrew on May 14, 2011, 03:27:19 PM
I was reading this in my copy the other night, and i thought to my self  "I know this is a great book by how boring it is." When ever I am bored, I know that I'm probably on the right path!

It is so easy to get excited, to be taken in by this or that thought, but what is excitement when it comes to meditation but the exact opposite of what the path requires?!

For many years I have had a little saying floating around in my head, I don't know if I made it up, but I think I did; "There is great reward on the other side of boredom". It has always bugged me because I keep remembering it and not know what it was really about. I think I know now...

may all be bored in a good way, goodnight!

Title: Re: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Jeeprs on May 15, 2011, 01:14:53 PM
what is boredom but craving for sensation?
Title: Re: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Andrew on May 15, 2011, 02:33:18 PM
wow, I had never thought to define it! Thats it isn't it?!, that's what I've been trying to tell myself all this time! thanks!

Peace and lack of craving to you Jonothan

Title: Re: Attitude - The State of Mind
Post by: Mungo on May 15, 2011, 11:32:34 PM
what is boredom but craving for sensation?
I also like "an aversion to suffering"