The Watched Mind
Basic Principles of Meditation
Here's the gem from my "therapy session" notes of March 18, 2011:
"A watched mind behaves differently from an unwatched mind."
Mindfulness Meditation is the deliberate decision to pay attention to what is going on in the mind, suspending all judgment and analysis. The presumption is that our mind is the unique place in which we live. Everything that we are and do has its roots in the mind. Much, if not most, of what we do is involuntary and unconscious. When we give ourselves over to watching our minds in action a unique dynamic is set up.
With mindfulness, that is with compassionate curiosity applied to whatever is going on in the mind, then the whole thing behaves differently. The observer and the observed experience more clarity and peace.
Here's an example from last night. I am aware that I move from one side to the other in response to hip-aches, shoulder aches or restless thoughts. When I paid attention to that I was able to lay still for longer. My mind was less restless, less anxious about being awake in the long hours.
I learned this truth about mindfulness five years ago. It has taken this long for it to settle into my presence. It is a basic principle of mindful meditation, but one that did not, for me, line up right away with my experience.
Socrates is said to have stated that, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
As for watching the mind; it takes a while for things to open up, but it is worth the wait.