One of the greatest paths in life is exploring humanity’s last frontier: the inner landscape! The turning of attention inward is the grand shift of direction anyone can make. Yet, just like Lewis and Clark, who faced great unknowns and dark challenges, the path inward isn’t easy. For most of us, the mind is filled with to-do lists, worries, complaints, doubts, judgments, obsessive thinking, anxiety, irritation, and fear. Learning how to manage all this activity and discovering how to respond to all of it is the great task of a spiritual explorer.
Changing your relationship to the inner life is a key ingredient to successfully traveling through its tumultuous terrain! And doing so can bring access to deep resources within, such as love, compassion, trust, passion, and purpose. In fact, one of the great benefits of meditation is the ability to change your relationship to the inner life, you release your grip on the identity that tends to bring inner pain and suffering. Mircea Eliade put it this way:
“Our true identity lies not in the changing contents of consciousness but in a deeper layer of the self, mind or soul. To reach this deeper layer one must slowly disentangle oneself from automatic identification with the contents of consciousness.”
Nonjudgmental / Nonattached Awareness
The benefits of meditation also include the ability to be nonjudgmental which is the key ingredient to disentangling yourself. All transformational and consciousness-shifting practices require nonjudgmental awareness.
Generally, the mind is like explosives, highly reactive and frequently triggered by inner and outer stimulus. In fact, the reactivity of the mind is deeply conditioned by your past experiences and takes place at lightning speed. Yet, observing the mind creates a sense of spaciousness – a small distance between the trigger and the mind‘s usual reaction. It‘s a way of slowing down, or you might say, stopping your usual patterns.
Observing the mind without judgment on a regular basis can provide a gradual disentanglement of deeply rooted psychological knots. Nonjudgmental awareness is the ability to be with and observe the inner and outer experience as it is taking place without judgment or attachment.
At first however, meditation for beginners typically consists of facing the various contents of the mind and believing in all of it. For most people, these are thoughts, ideas, images, feelings, emotions, moods, patterns, visions that seem to be saying something about their life. But being identified to this content makes it hard to see it for what it is – pure energy. However, once you observe it, witness it, then you might see that there is in fact an abundance of energy within.
When you look into the inner world, it’s no different than being in the middle of Times Square – there is a lot of activity! Just like the lights, billboards, shops, movies, and videos playing on the side of buildings, any little thought or idea could take us a ride. It’s easy to get hooked by the energy, the stimulation, the belief in it. Yet, nonjudgmental awareness is your ability to stand in the middle of Times Square – in the middle of your inner and outer world and be the observer. In this way, experience the pure energy of life. Receive the greatest benefits of meditation: freedom from the thought-emotion activity you believe to be yours. Instead, see the fountain of energy that is forever flowing from within.
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