November 13 : Mindfulness
The Buddha spoke a lot about mindfulness. It is an important mental factor to develop, we need to understand it in the proper context. In our practice, we are aiming for liberation. We want to be free of all unsatisfactory conditions and their causes. This involves developing wisdom and understanding the nature of our reality. Mindfulness plays a big part in that. It is necessary for developing ethical conduct, concentration, and wisdom, as well as for remembering our long-term goals.
In terms of ethical conduct, we need to be mindful of what kind of actions, words, and thoughts we want our body, speech, and mind to be engaged in and to be mindful of what actions our body, speech, and mind are actually engaged in. That way we can monitor our behaviour, checking to see if we are acting according to our aspirations. We try to be mindful during the day of what we are doing and saying, what we are thinking and feeling. Simply being aware is not enough. When we notice a corrupted mental state, harmful action or negative words, we need to apply the antidote and bring our mind, our body and speech back in line with our goals.
Being aware and directing our body, speech, and mind in a positive direction for the purpose of liberation and awakening is a tall order to do daily on a momentto- moment basis. The body and speech do not move without the mind moving. In other words, the mind is the root of all actions. Nonetheless, it is easier to correct the harmful actions of the body and speech first. It is good to start focusing our mindfulness on them, particularly in our speech. Speech is a powerful tool that can bring devastation or benefit, so it is important to be careful with what we say. Let us practise being aware of what we are saying, why we are saying it, how we are saying it, how much we are speaking, and what topics we speak on. Let us remember that our motivation in speaking is to benefit ourselves and others. By practising in this way, our mindfulness grows and takes us step by step towards our goal of liberation and awakening.
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