In Part 1 we looked at how changing our perspective on attachment can give us insight into how we view ourselves. This includes our attachment to the physical (how our body feels and looks) and our mind (believing that our thoughts are based in reality). By gaining knowledge of how the Buddhist philosophy has managed to develop true Mindfulness we can develop a meditation practice that gives us relief from suffering.
The three paths of Buddhism are:
- Nothing is permanent (anicca). This pertains to relationships, your favorite restaurant and your life. Holding on to what is impermanent just leads to frustration, unhappiness and suffering.
- Nothing persists (dukkha or unsatisfactoriness). Nothing continues in the same state for long. Knowing this also helps when having an illness or even a sadistic boss. It may feel like the situation is going on forever but in light of how long the earth has existed then not so much. Through dukkha, we gain perspective.
- Nothing can be controlled (anatta non-self). This arises out of causation that for every action there is a reaction. Understanding that you have no control can be a relief. When you go on a job interview you have no control of how you are perceived. You can only prepare for the interview, show up on time, dress appropriately and be yourself.
THE MENTAL TRAINING OF VIPASSANA: We learn to identify positive and negative states of mind. There are many types of positive states of mind and there are those that are appropriate for the practice of Vipassana. Developing the mind in this way can lead to what we in psychology refer to as the observing ego. This skill allows the individual to observe their thoughts and hopefully move to a more truthful state. By developing an observing ego the person has insight and can move to healthier representations of the mind/body. When practicing Vipassana correctly the skilled wholesome mind state arises on its own without a struggle. There are a variety or meditation practices. A first step would be to become aware of the breath and body. Through this, we can move into an awareness of thoughts and feelings that can lead to peace. Utilizing a mantra and practicing devotion helps the individual to become truly centered. Guided visualization and contemplative reflection can help with relaxation and creativity. Through various practices, there can be expanded states of consciousness. In Part 3 we will learn the practice of Mindfulness is and how we can develop our practice. (From: “The Buddhist Way to Peace of Mind” by Venerable Pramote Pamojjo)
ITA DOWLER, Psy.D., LCSW