How to think to benefit from meditation: advice from a Buddhist monk

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Discover yourself through self-monitoring.

Vipassana, or epiphany meditation, is one of the oldest meditation techniques. It means “to see things as they really are”. The Buddhist monk Henepol Gunaratana in Mindfulness in Plain English speaks in simple language about self-knowledge, refutes false ideas about meditation and gives practical advice on the techniques of performance and attitude to the process. Here are the main thoughts from this book.

Do not expect anything.

Relax and see what happens. Treat everything as an experiment, show interest in the process itself and don’t get distracted by your expectations of the result. For that matter, do not dwell on the result at all. Let the process go at its own pace and in its own direction.

Let meditation teach you. The meditative consciousness seeks to see reality exactly as it is. Whether or not this meets your expectations – no matter, you need to give up all prejudices for a while. Leave visual images, opinions and representations, they should not accompany you during the practice.

Do not strain yourself.

Meditation is not aggressive, so do not force yourself and do not put more effort than you can. There is no room for self-abuse in meditation, so let your actions be relaxed and measured.

Take your time.

In meditation there is no place to hurry, you do not need to hurry. Sit on the pillow and sit as if you can devote the whole day to it.

Anything of great value takes time. Calmness, calmness, calmness.

Do not cling to anything and do not reject anything.
Let what is happening, make peace with it. You have nice images – good, bad images – also good. Accept this as equivalent and feel comfortable in any situation. Do not fight with your feelings, but watch them thoughtfully.

Learn to let go

Be able to accept the changes that are happening. Let go and relax.

Accept everything that happens to you.

Accept your feelings, even those that you would like to forget. Accept any life experience, even if you hate it. Do not judge yourself for your shortcomings and mistakes. Learn to accept everything that happens to you as absolutely natural and understandable. Train yourself to accept what is happening impartially and to respect everything you’ve experienced.

Be forgiving of yourself.

You may not be perfect, but you are all you need to work with. To become who you want to be in the future, you must first accept who you are now.

Learn about yourself.

Doubt, do not take anything on faith. Do not believe in anything just because it sounds wise or was said by a saint. Make sure of everything personally, rely on your own experience, but do not become a brazen and insolent cynic. Skip all the claims through yourself and let the results become your guide to truth.

The meditation of epiphany is formed from an inner desire to realize the reality and gain a deeper understanding of the truth of being. Practice is based on the desire to awaken and understand the truth, without it it is superficial.

Treat problems as trials.

Take everything negative as opportunities for development and growth. Do not run away from problems, do not blame yourself and do not bury your burden in silence.

Problem? Beautiful! You will benefit from it. Be happy about it, immerse yourself in the problem and explore.

Do not think about it.

You do not need to know everything. Discursive thinking will not help you in meditation. In meditation practice, the mind is naturally cleansed through consciousness and dumbass attention. The habit of thinking things over is not necessary to free you from things that keep you in chains.

All that is needed is a clear understanding of what these things are and how they work. This alone is enough to get rid of them. The reasoning only gets in the way. Do not think. Awareness.

Do not dwell on differences.

All people are different, but it is dangerous to dwell on their differences. If the approach is wrong, it leads to selfishness. When looking at another person, the thought may flash: “He looks better than me. The immediate result will be jealousy and shame. A girl comparing herself to another may think: “I am prettier than she is. The instant result will be a sense of pride.

Such comparisons are mental habits that lead us directly to greed, envy, pride, jealousy or hatred.

This is our subjective attitude, and we do it all the time. We compare our looks, our successes, our achievements, our material condition, our property or IQ with others, but all of this only leads to alienation, barriers between people and dislike.

The task of the practitioner is to eradicate this habit by scrutinizing and replacing it with another. Instead of seeing differences, pay attention to similarities. Learn to focus on those things that are universal for life and that will bring you closer to others.