New Course: Observing the Mind

We are thrilled to announce that a new set of advanced practices are now available in the collection Great Insights Through Mindfulness under the title Observing the Mind.

With these practices, you will progressively learn to observe mental events without taking an interest in their contents and develop a familiarity with their essential nature. By this, we receive the benefit of gaining a nonconceptual certainty that nothing in the mind can inflict harm on us.

While engaging in the practice of observing the mind, we do not try to alter any of its content but observe whatever arises with unwavering mindfulness. In the course of our daily lives, mindfulness can play a more active role in helping to cultivate wholesome mental states and to disengage from unwholesome ones. Even in the midst of an active life, we may get in touch with our natural inner stillness, inner peace, compassion, and resilience.

These practices are designed in the same spirit as the rest of the Great Insights Through Mindfulness collection; you may stay with the same practices for weeks or months at a time until you become immersed in the method. Although such a practice indeed requires time, it can positively impact one's entire life. This practice set of settling the mind is also called ‘Taking the Mind as the Path’.

Panchen Lozang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570-1662), the tutor of the Fifth Dalai Lama of Tibet, explained this practice as follows [1] :
Whatever sorts of thoughts arise, without suppressing them, recognize what they emerge from and what they dissolve into; and stay focused while you observe their nature. By doing so, eventually, the motion of thoughts ceases, and there is stillness... each time you observe the nature of thoughts that arise, they will vanish by themselves following which, a vacuity appears. Likewise, if you also examine the mind when it remains without movement, you will see an unobscured, clear and vivid vacuity, without any difference between the former and latter states. That is well known among meditators and is called “the union of stillness and motion.”
  1. B. Alan Wallace, “Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity”, chap. 8 “Theory: Knowing and Healing the Mind”. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.
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