Just think about in our day to day life.

If we happen to see something colorful or bright That brightness or colorful thing takes our attention. That doesn’t mean that all other things are not existing. That particular thing is getting our attention.

When we hear a loud sound or noise, that takes our attention. That takes our attention even though many other smaller sounds are there. When you happen to eat something that has a strong taste that takes the attention. You don’t notice any other taste So, what does this mean? This means something stronger is occupying our mind or our experience.

In a similar way, when one strong emotional comes, that takes our attention.

So, when you think about certain people, almost with anybody, you would say, they are good people or bad people. Based on what? Probably based on one strong experience. With one strong experience we judge that person or label that person. Now, when you look at yourself, are you a happy person or an unhappy person? Are you a good person or a bad person? Are you a beautiful person handsome, or ugly person. And based on what?

The meditator’s effort is not labeling the sound, taste, picture, or thoughts. Not being stuck with knowing one experience. So, just simply think when you are quiet and somebody comes to this church at the beginning of the meditation, they will say “What a wonderful place to meditate! No sounds at all.” That is what somebody would say right away. But, once you close your eyes, what happens? If you look for sound, you will catch hundreds of them. So, if you happen to meditate outside again you will hear the wind, birds, sometimes a train, automobiles.

What is happening? Why do we think it is quiet at the beginning? Because our mind is occupied. When our mind is not occupied, we can see more or experience more. Still we are following the same habit. What is the habit? We are trying to hang on to something. To label things.

In the meditation, we are talking about one kind of special mind or ability. We call it “neutral mind”. The neutral mind means that you are not attached to anything. You are going with the flow. You are not stuck somewhere. When you happen to look at the sky, if you are stuck on one cloud, you don’t see the rest of the sky. You are just looking at one cloud. When you are looking at the river, if you happen to see either a fish or something floating on the river you don’t see the entire river because your attention is stuck in one place. That is what happens with our life. We keep getting stuck into a single thing. That can be an emotional challenge, it can be an expectation. But, once you get stuck that colors everything in your life. You don’t see anything outside of that particular thing.

When somebody in the family happens, your entire world is colored by that. When you happen to be accused by somebody or when you happen to be scolded by somebody, you remember that the entire day. That is going to cover your entire mind. Look at what is happening to us It eliminating the rest of our life. With the meditation practice, what is happening, even though those things are strong, any emotional experience or any challenge anything, when it comes to you, you know, you are stuck in there because it is strong. There you can see that particular thing has gained power because of you.

This is a very important thing for a meditator to realize. Who is giving power into that? Who is giving power into somebody’s word or accusation? Who is giving power to another person’s action? Who has seen that bright light? Or, has seen that bright color? How do you get stuck in there? Because we give power into that. With a neutral mind, when you realize it. You are not giving power into that. You are treating all life experiences equally. “Oh, this is another emotion.” “This is not me.”

When Buddha was giving instructions on how to practice meditation, he was advising to recognize those emotions and those life experiences. With the practice you are supposed to think, “This is not me.” or “This is not my mind.” When we happen to develop that mind. What happens. We are learning how to let go anything that happens. Any experience you have. That way we are not giving into that. It will not give power into someone’s accusations or somebody’s compliment. Those are equal. How much we get stuck with those compliments, that much we will get stuck with accusations.

And when the meditator goes a little further, the meditator will see, how much we are being ourself. Which means, just simply think, often you will hear or often you will see, you are thinking, “How “How do others see me?” Or, you would even ask others, “How do I look? Am I good enough. Do I look good?” Or whatever actions we do, and you want to know how others think. So, as a meditator, you will see how much I am going to be the person who others want to be. Which means how much you are not being you. We are so busy or so occupied of trying to prove the self that others want you to be. Or… you are trying to be the person as you think others would see you.

So, with this neutral mind, you will let go of this desire. That is how you will find the person that you will want to be. The meditator will happen to be to begin to be comfortable with their own self. Once you are comfortable with your own self than only you can become the person that YOU want to be. Not the person who others want you to be. That comes with that background of foundation of mindfulness the neutral mind and observation. Then observation will give you the freedom. So, confidence is the result of that.

So, it is good to ask yourself often, it is better to ask yourself often, “Who do I want to be, and why?” When you seek others comments, there you will see, why do I want to become the person who others want me to be? Any questions or thoughts? Any questions or thoughts? So, hopefully no one will ask the question again, “Do I look good?”

[laughing] Okay. It looks like everybody is busy thinking. So we can stop the class here. It is wonderful to have all of you and have a wonderful week. Thank you very much for being here today.