Let’s begin with yesterday’s definition of mindfulness: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.”
I am in the process of trying to understand what ‘mind’ is.
I know it’s more than just intellect or rational thought. It’s more than emotions. It does involve matters of the heart (however you wish to define ‘heart’), the will and the intentions of the heart.
The Holy Scripture says that the heart is desperately wicked – “who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV) According to the Word of God, the heart cannot be relied upon to make good decisions. It’s almost as if the heart has been taken hostage and is now held captive by false beliefs.
“Mind” is part of the soul of man. The mind is a ‘conditioned phenomenon’ capable of taking ‘what is’ and building upon it. The mind can only respond to what it understands, what it perceives as truth.
So, in a way, the mind can’t be trusted either.
What, then, can be trusted? Is there anything upon which we can rely? I believe there is. It’s something called “awareness.” This awareness is who we are. Thoughts, intentions, feelings, emotions are part of our construction as a human being, but they are not who we are.
“I think, therefore I am” would be better stated, “I am aware; therefore, I am.” What does this mean?
It means that, not only can I think; I can also think about my thinking! I can step out of my stream of thought and observe my thoughts as they go floating past. It means that I can be a “witness” to all my thoughts, moods, feelings – even my intentions.
I can do this because, fundamentally, I am awareness. I’m not always aware; but I can learn to awaken to my own creations of thought and feeling. I don’t have to be ‘lost’ in thought. Anyone who trusts his own thinking is a fool. Anyone who assumes that his/her thinking is superior to another is delusional.
The ‘witness’ can observe all that’s going on with curiosity, and without judgment. The witness can be our refuge from all that threatens to undo us. The witness can allow us to detach from false beliefs – that which causes us to act in opposition to what we know we really need. Learning to ‘witness’ is the beginning of wisdom.