The Benefits of Being Mindful

Teachings by Sathi

Summary: There are thought and emotional patterns providing “food” for your mind. Emotions are the food to your mind. Dissatisfaction is food to your mind. Anger is a food to your mind. As a meditator, you learn to recognize what type of mind “food” you are “eating”.

As a meditator you will learn how not to react. Instead of being a reactor, you will become an observer. When you have this ability to have neutral thoughts, through the practice of meditation, you will know how to introduce things that are beneficial to yourself and others.

At the beginning of the meditation I mentioned about the neutral mind. I would like to explain a little more about it.

As an observer, as a meditator, if you look at your life, you can see we are doing so many things because we are pushed by something. Sometimes you are pushed by you fear, you desire. By the end of the day you may want to finish something. Some of you may be pushed by your work, your boss. Maybe weather. Maybe some other emotional needs.

So, just think about when you are pushed by certain things, you don’t see it. You don’t see what it is that is pushing us. You don’t see that. But, you see you need to do this. By the end of the day, you have done a lot of the things you’ve needed to do. Sometimes, by the end of the day, you may have satisfaction. By the end of the day you may have some rewards for our work and accomplishments. Then, if you look at yourself after one week, maybe you’ve done a lot of things like that. Sometimes you are doing certain things for self-satisfaction.

If you bring a little more mindfulness, a little more attention, you can see, when you want to do something, that particular thing is doing something to your mind. Sometimes, until you finish it, you cannot calm yourself. Your mind is not calm. When something comes to your mind, you don’t know how to relax. Just like a kid who wants to finish a game.

Think about as an adult, sometimes when you want to watch a movie, some of you may go to see it first, right after it first releases. Until then you don’t know how to rest. You think, “I can’t wait.” Maybe you are waiting a long time until they release that movie. And then, you go to the first showing. But, after you finish the movie. What is happening to you? Then, you can relax. You are finding a way to relax your mind after completing something what your mind is demanding. As a mindful person you can see that is how you have been functioning in your life. If you don’t have anything, you would look for some kind of excitement. You may create some kind of excitement. People who used to find answers to trouble, if they don’t have trouble in their life, they would go and engage in someone else’s trouble. Such as family member’s troubles.

There are such mind, thought, or emotional patterns providing “food” for your mind. Emotions are the food for your mind. Dissatisfaction is food for your mind. If you don’t have those foods you might complain by saying, “Oh no, I’m bored, nothing to do.” So, as a meditator, you have to recognize the mind food that you have been “eating”.

Sometimes you may eat some unhealthy food such as anxiety and fear, anger, frustration. Those are are like fast food. You experience it quickly. Fear. The people who like thriller movies. Or, even if you like horror movies.

If someone else film you while you are watching that movie to see what is happening to you while you are watching that movie. A lot of facial reactions. So, that is what is happening to you inside. Those are the foods you are demanding and eating.

But, you don’t see. Until you become an observer, you don’t see it.

We are very good at complaining about others, or criticizing others. We can easily see that others are doing. What are the wrong things they do and what are the good things they do. Even you can see how other people are reacting while they are watching a movie or while they are facing certain trouble. Or, what are they really demanding? Or, what is their [current] powerful emotion? You can see it clearly. But, ask yourself, “Do you know about yourself?” Do you know what is your powerful emotion? What kind of mind food are you eating the most? What is happening to your mind?

Or, what are you looking for at the end of the day? Why are you doing certain things.

Maybe, if you ask someone else or, if you want to criticize other people, you may recognize it clearly. But, for you, that would be difficult for you to say. Because we don’t know how to look at ourselves from outside. We don’t know how to look at ourselves with an open mind. Either you want to praise yourself or, you may complain to yourself. But, in reality complain, but most of the time we want to praise ourselves.

So, as I mentioned at the beginning, about this neutral mind. Or, the skill of neutral observer. You may recognize yourself without blaming or without praising yourself. You may see what kind of mind food you are after. Or, what you are experiencing most. Or, what is “feeding” you most? What are you after most? Why are you wanting to finish certain things? Why are you wanting to do certain things?

[With a neutral mind] you can see what is underneath. During the meditation you are learning not to react.

When your mind sparkles or alights, influenced by certain emotions or certain habits, certain needs, during the meditation you are learning not to react. Not to go after it. But that ability you will expand with other practices or doing other times [in your life] because you will recognize an ability or strength.

As a meditator you will learn how not to react. Instead of being a reactor, you will become an observer. A person who responds correctly or mindfully. That will be the result of this neutral attitude. So, the most important part is, once when you have this ability to expand this neutral mind, you will know how to introduce something which is beneficial, which is helpful, which brings peacefulness into yourself and others.

You become a person who knows how to implement something that is really beneficial to you and others.

Then you will begin to be proud of yourself, appreciate yourself and you will not blame yourself for wasting your time over or wasting your energy.

Most unmindful people do not know they are wasting their time. They do not know. They would say, “That’s life.” But, the mindful person would say, how we are wasting our time and our life by doing something that is not helpful or useful. Or, not beneficial.

This neutral mind will lead you to have beneficial activities in your life. That would be the mindful path.

So, therefore, as a meditator, try to cultivate this neutral mind. There is nothing wrong of experience excitement or any emotion. But, as a mindful person, step back and see, “What is this? Why am I experiencing this right now?” “Why do I want to do this?”

You can see sometimes you might be influenced to go after some tasty food. Or, your favorite food. If you happen to go to a buffet. Most of the time, those food choices will come because of the taste, you have tasted before. Or from habits, maybe something you like most. But, only a few people will go after healthy food. But, the nature of healthy food does not always look nice, or the taste is not good. Not colorful. Not greasy looking. It is very difficult for you to choose that healthy food.

Even if you choose some healthy food, you will take only a little. This is very similar to this mind food. If someone asks you not to be angry, it looks like somebody is trying to remove your favorite food from your plate. You would say, “Go and look or do something else, don’t bother me.” Because we are after something we like. If somebody blames, “Hey, you are enjoying your anger.” What would you say? “No, I don’t!” Maybe you would be angry again [laughing] at that person. While you are remembering again and again about a fear, or an experience of fear, what are you expecting to experience? You are taking yourself back into the same place.

Think about while you are enjoying the horror movies… Why are you watching those movies? I’m not against any of those movie producers. They are doing their business. They are creating something that people want to experience. If they have produced something you don’t want to see they cannot earn money. Being mindful to recognize it. If you know the harmfulness or danger of the “food” you are eating or like to eat, only that mindful person can help can reduce those foods and introduce something healthy. Think about what are the healthy mind foods that you can bring into your life? Maybe those healthy mind foods are difficult to find, or are expensive. Sometimes are not willing to share with you. People are willing to share something really tasty and easy to find. Even some places you cannot buy those healthy foods. it is not widely available. But, unhealthy mind food is widely available. Those are mainstream mind foods.

You can ask ten people to come to a party and invite ten people to come to meditation. And see which one you will be most successful with. If you invite ten people to come to a party I’m sure you’ll have 15-20 people and other people who will tag along. But, for meditation “Oh yeah, maybe I’ll come next time. I’ll take a rain check.”

So, just recognize it. The most important thing is…. we have to come back to it. What you are doing? That is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. Because you are the only one who is responsible for your mind. No body else They can only give you some suggestions. But, you are the one who has to do it.

Think about this neutral mind and allow this neutral mind to guide you.

Any questions or thoughts?

[A meditator asks Sathi, how does this neutral mind work with goals and intentions?]

Sathi responds, Think about intentions and goals going both ways.

As an unmindful person, intentions and goals may direct their anger, desire, or frustration. Whatever their food, whatever the influence they have. Those will set up the intention and goal.

For the mindful person, intentions and goals work as a strength. For the mindful person would know “This is my goal of helping myself.” A mindful person has a mindful goal.

For an unmindful person, goals are established by anger or frustration, whatever emotion there is behind it.

For the mindful person, mindfulness will introduce the intentions or goals. The intention or goal is more powerful [for the mindful person]. Helping somebody or destroying somebody, both would have intentions.

To do any activity you have intentions. But, the importance is what is behind that intention? Bring this mindfulness to question yourself. Question yourself with with things you are doing. Not to criticize yourself, or not to put yourself down. Just think, “What is behind it?” If you mindfully recognize something, then that is the beauty of mindfulness.

If you mindfully recognize something mindfulness will help you reduce the harmfulness and finally remove the harmfulness. Mindfulness will help you develop the beneficial things. The beautiful things.

Therefore, let’s bring mindfulness into your life. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” “Why am I doing this?” Then, you can see why you are REALLY doing it. So, knowing it is really helpful. Instead of doing something without knowing. Even if you are doing something bad, having mindfulness is very beneficial. Mindfulness will direct you. To protect you from that pattern.

If you want to fight with somebody, fight with somebody mindfully. So fighting, or if you want to argue with somebody, do it mindfully. That will be more beneficial than fighting without mindfulness.

Okay, I think today we can stop here. It is wonderful to see all of you. Have a wonderful week. Thank you.

Recorded on April 15, 2019 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Mankato, Minnesota.

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