Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness (pp. 216-220)
Mindfulness of Mental Objects is the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness.
The previous talk addressed the Five Aggregates of Clinging and the Six Internal and Six External Sense Bases.
The Five Hindrances, the Five Aggregates of Clinging and the Six Internal and Six External Sense Bases are factors that offer us the opportunity to be mindful of how our body and mind function and how suffering can arise and be overcome.
As we are mindful of the mental objects, the question arises as to who is being mindful? What is the mind and are we part of it?
Are you your mind?
The answer may seem contradictory – You are not your mind and yet you are.
Bhante G. states:
“Mind is a non-physical phenomenon that perceives, thinks, recognizes, experiences and reacts. It is clear and formless, which means that thoughts and other mind objects can arise in it. It is also described as luminous, which means ‘able to spread light on things’ – in other words, ‘knowing’.” –The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English, p. 107
“Thus the more you focus on mind itself, the less solid it seems. Like everything else that exists, it is always changing. Moreover, you discover, there is no permanent entity; no one is running the movie projector. All is flux, all is flow, all is process. In reality, who you are is simply this constant flow of changing moments of mind. Since you cannot control this process, you have no choice but to let go. In letting go, you experience joy and you taste for an instant the freedom and happiness that is the goal of the Buddha’s path. Then you know that this mind can be used to gain wisdom.” –Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, p. 216.
The Dalai Lama states in his talk, What is the Mind: “In general, the mind can be defined as an entity that has the nature of mere experience.”
Where is this mind located? The Buddha did not say, only using the phrase, “cave of the body.” Bhante G., The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, p.107.
To really know the answer to the question, (what is the mind?), you must go deeply into your experience.
Meditate on this article by Dr. Heather Stone: Look: You are Not Your Mind
- Read this talk every day and reflect on it.
- When meditating, see if you can find your “self”. Who is meditating? Are the phenomena that arise such as thoughts, sensations, perceptions, and memories, “you”? It is only through experience that you will truly know.
- Daily meditation is recommended to truly realize what is.
- Start with a concentration meditation and then practice vipassana (insight meditation).