Summary: Sathi talks about the benefits of practicing mindfulness.
- Allows us to engage in certain situations without getting emotionally involved.
- Helps us understand who we really are as a person. The reality of ourself.
- Being able to recognize things and emotions for what they truly are.
- Allows us to not be responsible for other people’s comments, even if they are hurtful.
- Gives us the opportunity to learn from our past experiences.
[Sathi] I thought I would share teachings which can be helpful in practice and in our daily life. The benefit of practicing mindfulness and meditation is that it is helping us to recognize the situation, any situation, without being inside [involved].
When we happen to engage in certain situations, emotionally or any other way, the mindful meditator will recognize it and help us from getting lost in the situation. [Being mindful] will help us not to go there.
At the same time, one of the benefits of the meditator is that you will see clearly even though you are naming or claiming something as yours, it is not yours. As an example, somebody just accused you or said something that is not nice. Our immediate reaction is to feel hurt. When you feel hurt, you lose yourself. You feel uncomfortable before you express yourself.
Imagine, at that point, if you can bring your mindfulness back. Then you will think, “Even though this person said this particular thing, why do I engage in this?” For example, somebody may say, “You are a very bad person.” or, “You are very greedy.” or, “You are a very angry person.” If you are not an angry person, or, if you are not a greedy one, at the moment, why do we get hurt by these [comments].
As an unmindful person, you may say, “This person is telling me something I’m not.” If someone is telling you something that you are not, why do we get involved? Somebody may say, “You have ink on your face.” Hmmm? While you are looking at yourself in the mirror and you don’t see any ink, what do you think? “Either this person is lying and expecting something else by lying to you, or, this person is blind.”
Whoever we are meeting in your life, they are blinded by emotion. When they get caught up into their weave or way of thinking, or political weave, they get blind. They don’t have the skills to see you. This is a situation that we don’t see right away. But, as a meditator, what would you do? Even though somebody says something that [might have been] right in the past. But, if it is not right for the present, why do we get involved?
As a meditator, you would keep asking yourself, “Is this me? Is this mine?” Especially the emotions that you are engaged with. [For example, ] you feel really angry. Or, you feel anxious or you get hurt. What is the nature of those emotions? The nature of those emotions are just rising and existing a little while, and then disappearing. These are temporary. Arising, it is there, disappears.
If something is yours, it has to be there all the time. You have ten fingers on both hands. You can claim, “Okay, this is mine. It’s there. I can use it. I can claim it. If something happens [to my] fingers, I can feel it.” Even though you physical body is not yours totally, you can at least claim it temporarily as yours.
But, what about emotions, feelings. Those are actually not yours. They are arising and passing away. When the meditator comes into this mindfulness, the meditator will not get blinded by their own judgments. Or, judgments given by others.
When you start to recognize what is not yourself, then you will start to investigate your true self. “What is me? What can I claim as me and mine?”
Before we get into that understanding, we need to remove the things that have blinded your thinking. Often you will say, “That is how I am. It is me.” Probably you will tell your family, your loved ones, “Yes, I am angry. That is me. I don’t stand for those things. That is me.” That is how we are passing our judgment and not allowing us to go beyond or see ourselves further.
What’s the reality of ourselves? The reality of ourselves is that we keep evolving. Therefore, we don’t have to punish ourselves for who we were yesterday. The self we were yesterday is gone. Now, we are a newer self. Are you willing to accept this new self?
The meditator’s way is to keep renewing yourself. Keep washing and cleaning yourself. And you recognize the present self or present mind that you have. You are not carrying all that garbage that you have kept in the past. You are just clearly seeing it. “Yes, it was me, but, it is not me anymore.” Therefore, I don’t have to answer for those mistakes. What I did ten years ago, even five years ago, even yesterday… You may have said something not nice. You are training yourself to gently smile at yourself. Again, not accusing [blaming] yourself, not punishing yourself by taking the responsibilities from yesterday. Yes, take the responsibility, “I was wrong. Now, as long as I am maintaining that weakness, this can happen again. It is not me. It is not mine. That is why I can let it go.”
Think about it. If something is not yours and is not you, then only you can let it go. [Let’s say] you have a new car. It is your car. That car will be yours until you are trading that car or selling that car to someone else.
The same with a house. After you sell that house, even [though] you want to stop by there, to see, some of you may, out of curiosity, drive by the house to see how it looks. But, you don’t have any right to claim anything. Because you have passed on that. It is not yours. That is how you get rid of it or just move on from that house.
The question for the meditator, “Have you moved on from yesterday? Have you moved on from [who you were] last month? Last week?” Even the advanced meditators practice will have you moving on from the last moment.
You are not carrying this ownership anymore. You are welcoming the present. We have to keep establishing that training and that practice by seeing the realities. The realities are not your [thoughts and actions] from yesterday. When you are not your [thoughts and actions] from the morning. What is happening to you? You keep evolving.
The wonderful and beneficial thing is, once you have introduced such a mind, then nobody can make you angry anymore. Nobody can give you any uncomfortable feelings anymore.
You will not give an opportunity to another person to do that. People can say anything to you. Why do you take it? If you know you are beautiful, if somebody says, “You are ugly.” Why do you listen to that. [You can say to them, ] “Oh, thank you for saying that. That is your view.” But, I know I’m beautiful. Or, you don’t care if you are beautiful. “It is me. [chuckling] I don’t mind how you see me.” Just think about how much we get caught up in those images. That is the result of lack of mindfulness.
The person with mindfulness is aware of what is happening to them and what is real and what is not real. What is true and not true.
The other thing is, an unmindful person is trained to live on [ideas – input] that is not true. People think that is easy. Easy to live on things that are not true. As an example, think of something going on in our life. What do we do? Immediately we say, “I don’t want to talk about this. I don’t want to look at that.” We initially do not want to look [examine] what has happened or what is happening. We want to look the other way.
Secondly, we would do something else. You do something else to forget about [whatever is bothering you]. You watch a movie or go somewhere because you don’t want to see what is happening. That is how we are avoiding [something unpleasant].
As a meditator, you do not punish yourself. And, you do not avoid things. You clearly see what is happening and then, if you want to take action you will take it. Otherwise you will not give power to it. It is like a surgeon. If you have something going on in your body, a wound or something, a person like me, I don’t even want to look at that because I don’t have the training to see a wound. I just want a plaster to cover it up. But, what does a doctor do? A doctor will look at it. If you need treatment the doctor will do a treatment because the doctor does not want this wound to become dangerous. He will do the treatment after he observes it. What is it? How can I help? What’s the best I can do?
When the doctor is comfortable, then the doctor closes the wound. But, a person like me who doesn’t know about these things, I just want to cover it up. As a result of that, it might lead to something bad. As a well-trained surgeon, the meditator or mindful person is training to look at their own self. This is similar to being a professional person or doctor looking at a wound. You are training to look at your own self, your own mind. Understanding and recognizing the behavior of your mind. That is how you can stop a mind “wound” to lead to a dangerous situation. You can stop it right there.
You can see it clearly and you can recognize, “This wound is not me, it isn’t mine. It has its own way of healing it.” You are just taking the appropriate actions.
This is how we are using mindfulness in our daily life.
When something happens, as a practice, just keep reminding yourself, “It’s not me. It’s not mine.” You don’t have to take responsibility for it. If somebody says something very bad, you should be able to smile because you don’t have to respond to it. You don’t have to answer for something that is not you or that is not yours.
Any questions or thoughts?[Meditator] The follow-up question I have for that is how to differentiate between, I mean, feelings are feelings, our emotions…. but what if the emotions we are having and the feelings we are having are a result of us acting unmindfully?
How to know when we may actually have to take action and do something, like apologize to someone. This comes up because I know that in certain situations, especially social situations I don’t realize and I clearly lose myself and I say things or make comments and I don’t know, I could go and ask the person, “Hey, did I make you feel bad with what I said?” I could do that or if the person wasn’t saying anything, I could just not feel guilty about what I said.
I don’t know. I guess I’m a bit lost on what to do. Like, as action and in my head.[Sathi] Let me answer your question this way. If you go out of your house and you fall down by sliding. When that happens once, then, what is happening to you the next time? Then, every time you remember that. “I should be very careful here.”
You are learning that from your previous experience.
That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to use those steps anymore because last time I fell down and that is a bad place for me and I’m going to use a different path. What would you do in a practical way? You would be aware next time when you are walking, and you will be very careful.[In] the same way, when you happen to experience some emotions or feelings which are really hurtful, which are negative and painful, as a mindful person you will know, it’s not yours. It is not you. But, how did I experience this? Normally, there is something else behind it. It can be anger or greed, or something.
The mindful you will recognize what you went through with this experience. What has led you to this? That is how you are getting a clear picture about it. Then you are not hanging onto that experience anymore.
Through experience, you can see what is behind it and how it happened. We call it wisdom. You are recognizing it completely. What led you to have this wisdom? Your mindfulness. Because you won’t have that wisdom if you happen to attach to the experience emotionally or sentimentally. You first have to let go of this experience in order to work through and recognize what is underneath. Once you have this wisdom, you will be aware of the next moment. The next time when you begin to experience something [relating] to the same feeling, you will notice, “Oh, this is what is happening to me. Just like last time when I was walking out, without being careful, I slid and got hurt.”
Now, this time, you’ll be very careful when that experience happens. Then, eventually, you will have confidence not to lose yourself to that emotion or feeling. It will happen from your mindfulness. You can’t make it [just] happen. You will gradually build up into that person.[Meditator] I notice I have this tendency to be less mindful when I’m in socially enjoyable situations. We are having a good time and… [Sathi] It is not only your trouble. It is the [same] trouble for all of us. [laughing] Go ahead. [Meditator] It’s kind of like what I’ve noticed. Whenever I’m with the family, or with friends, I tend to say stupid things. And yes, I shouldn’t punish myself for it, but I still feel guilty. I’m working on it. I’d also like to avoid losing yourself in socially enjoyable situations but at the same time enjoy yourself. [Sathi] One of the benefits is that gradually you will start to have more awareness during those times when you practice mindfulness. You used to do some stupid things while you lose your mindfulness, right? Then, later, what will happen with your mindfulness, you will be mindful when you are doing stupid things. [chuckles] That’s how you gradually start to do this. You will gradually be [more] mindful and later you will see that you did not lead yourself into danger because you know when you are doing certain things.
Nothing you can do as a practice. But, when you cultivating mindfulness, and meditation, you are applying this mindfulness to everything in your life.
For example, you will even go to sleep mindfully. Wake up mindfully. And, do your stupid things mindfully.
A few months ago, one of our friends quit smoking. I heard someone ask him, “What made you quit smoking?” He said, “I could start to be mindful of my smoking.” [laughing] He says that is the reason. “Now that I am fully mindful of my smoking I stop doing it.[Meditator] I wonder about the balance between mindfulness as a specific way of paying attention, a different way of paying attention, versus being vigilant or like overly aware or overly cautious about what I say, how I behave. Because everything that we are talking about today to me is more relational. I’m thinking about myself and how does that play. But then `I think about mindfulness relationally and how that plays out. And then, her comments about those social situations, of really finding that balance between being overly cautious, overly aware, kind of a hyper-awareness, versus the kind of attention and the awareness of mindfulness because they are different.
Can you talk a little bit about those differences? It’s not like, all right I’m [inaudible] but sometimes it feels that way. That’s not the mindfulness I want.[Meditator] We talked a little bit before about riding a bike. The person learning to ride a bike is learning vs gaining control. [Meditator] Of having some enjoyment. [Sathi] That would be the same with the swimming. So, if you go back to your question again, think about when we are overly cautious means it is not you that is cautious. That is bringing you the heaviness. Because you going beyond what you want to do or what you can do. Or what attention or what concerns. Every time you call “Oh, I’m mindful.” it makes you tired.
One of the examples that I bring you through meditation practice and all of you have done walking meditation. If you happen to walk faster than your normal walking rhythm you will be uncomfortable. Or, if you happen to walk slower than your normal walking rhythm, you will still be uncomfortable.
What is the meaning there? It is not you. Either you are less than you or more than you.
When you happen to be cautious about who you are, you won’t be uncomfortable. [When you are] mindful of who you are, with your own limits, you will not be tired or uncomfortable.
With a mindful practice, as I mentioned earlier, you are gradually cultivating yourself, then mindfulness compared to you last month, now you have a better mindfulness than last month. What is happening? The way you used to feel [and react] to certain things last month is not the same as this month.
If you happen to be overly mindful, what is happening? You are going after a certain image, a certain concern, and that will definitely make you tired. That is why we say for the meditator is to be settled. Being settled means being you. Don’t overly push yourself. Don’t overly get tired. Don’t be overly cautious. Just be you. Relax.
When you relax, be yourself, and be settled, that means that is how you want to respond. You are becoming you.
One way, with mindfulness, we are updating yourself. Another way, when you are facing the world, you are facing the world as yourself.
Every time you happen to be tired, or overly cautious, you have to remind yourself, “Oh, I am doing too much. This is not me. What is me?”
When you are practicing you are practicing to upgrade yourself. But, when you are living you are maintaining yourself.
When you are practicing you are practicing to uplift yourself. But, when you are living you are maintaining yourself.
Thank you. Let’s enjoy tea. And today, we also have a butternut cake.
Recorded on December 21, 2019 at the Meditation Center in Chaska, Minnesota.
Sign up now for the Triple Gem Newsletter.
Visit our website at Triple Gem of the North