First we work with mindfulness practices that help us come to know the conditioned mind and our relationship to it. Here, we notice how we:
So we practice letting go again and again the mind’s attempts to direct and control and keep us disconnected from our direct present moment experience. And when we let go, a new freedom arises when we’re not busy with all of that efforting. Sometimes this experience of freedom is a delicious relaxation and buoyancy and other times it can be a deep exhaustion from finally letting go of this heavy load, of this major struggle.
As the struggle falls away and we bring our attention to what remains, there is pure experience and pure awareness and our natural goodness that arises. There is even this deep well-being that we know as equanimity—calmness and composure. And then we get the gift of consciously living the experience of our true nature.
So first we stop the pain of the struggle to control, to reform things to our desire, then we experience what remains, and then we can orient toward the goodness, toward the joy. There is a natural goodness AND we can foster this goodness to grow—to no bounds as far as I can tell. Science, particularly neuroscience, tells us we can grow this good. We can create neural networks that make this goodness more readily available by being conscious when we experience the good and allowing it to linger. We can, as Rick Hansen tells us, use our mind to change our brain, which changes our mind, which changes our brain, and so on. I don't know that science has found a ceiling for this goodness.
So, experiencing and cultivating these beneficial mind states that are first glimpsed when we end the suffering of busyness, control, and attachment leads to the goodness of equanimity, compassion, loving kindness, and sympathetic joy. Peaceful contentment regardless of outer conditions and circumstances.
To taste a practice that begins to open and release the struggle, try this one from a recent Mindful Monday Meditation on Facebook. I'm curious to learn about your experience with this practice and invite you to leave a comment on Facebook or down below.
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