What to Be Mindful Of

By Freeman

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As you develop the capacity to be the watcher of your mind, thoughts, emotions, intentions, habit patterns and so on, here are the things to notice that will greatly aid you in coming out of your suffering and living a more peaceful, joyful, and loving life. Of course, don’t take my word for any of this. Be mindful of your internal states, and see all of this for yourself.

Three Truths of Nature

Use your mindfulness practice to notice these three aspects of truth that apply to all material forms, be they tangible or intangible, internal or external. Seeing these truths of nature clearly, and in all things, will greatly aid you in being wise and feeling peace, compassion, love, and joy.

 

1. all forms are Impermanent

All things, will change, decay, die, and become separated from you. Therefore, don’t put off loving and appreciating all that you cherish. Love and appreciate them now. Then, when they are gone, let go.

Accept the truth that they are no longer with you as they once were. You can still appreciate, cherish, and love the time you had with them, and send them goodwill wherever they may be. Just don’t mistakenly believe that you need them in your life, in the same way you had them before, for you to be peaceful, happy, and content. All that has served you in love, did so for your happiness and highest good. Even now, even though separated, at their core, they want you to be happy.

For more info on the impermanent nature of all forms, check out:

 

2. all forms are Impersonal

Everything lawfully unfolds due to conditioned factors that are outside of our control. There is no need to take anything personally, including our own, or someone else’s, thoughts, emotions, sensations, habit-patterns, bodily form, and so on.

For more info on the impersonal nature of all forms, check out:

 

3. Dissatisfaction

Nothing you do, achieve, accomplish, or attain will bring you the lasting satisfaction you seek. All material things and situations, are ultimately unsatisfying. Let go of striving; of seeking your happiness in the future. Rest in the joy that is already within you now.

For more info on the ultimate dissatisfaction of all situations, check out:

 

Four States of Being

Tune into these aspects of your true self and fundamental nature. These states are always with you, but you only experience them when the mind and body are free of active delusions. (Being mindful of active delusions, deactivates them partially or fully). All of these states are different manifestations of love. Be mindful of these states when you experience them and this will allow you to live from these states more and more frequently.

For more info on love, check out:

 

1. Kindness

The love that connects. Sincerely wishing well for others, while free of all wanting. Kindness connects, supports, and heals. We tune into kindness when we see the good in all people, beings, things, and situations, and recognize that all life wants to be peaceful, happy, safe, and healthy. Kindness naturally leads to us feeling less hatred and anger.

For more info on kindness, check out:

 

2. Peace

The love that allows. Feeling balanced, calm, and relaxed in all situations, while free of apathy and indifference. We tune into peace when we desire to respond skillfully to every moment that arises, no matter how challenging. Peace naturally leads to us feeling less attachment and aversion.

For more info on peace, check out:

 

3. Compassion

The love that responds. Mindful intimacy with suffering. Willingness to feel and experience unpleasantness, without being overwhelmed by it, or taking it personally. We tune into compassion, when we recognize that like us, all beings suffer pain, fear, injuries, and death. Compassion naturally motivates us to reduce the suffering we cause ourselves and others, and to help alleviate all suffering.

For more info on compassion, check out:

 

4. Joy

The love that celebrates. Mindful intimacy with whatever is beautiful, good, and pleasant, that is free of all clinging. We tune into joy when we appreciate the joy of other life forms, be they human, animal, or otherwise. Joy naturally reduces our cynicism, and boosts our happiness.

For more info on joy, check out:

 

Six Major Delusions

Delusions are falsehoods, that when believed (and thus “active”), are the source of our mental and emotional suffering. By seeing the delusions, and feeling how they cause us to suffer and act unskillfully in ways that harm ourselves and others, we gain the wisdom to see the lie of these delusions and the ability to let them go.

The more we see the falsehood of these delusions, the more we purify our mind and body of them, causing us to live from our true self of peace, love, joy, and compassion.

All of these delusions are forms of reactivity. It is more skillful, pleasing, empowering, and healing to respond whatever arises in the now with mindfulness and one or more of the four states of being.

As you read these delusions, you will see that there is a lot of overlap from one to the other. As work with these delusions in your own life, you will notice that the ego frequently uses several delusions at a time to strengthen its hold on and control over you.

 

1. Futuring/The Fortune Teller Error

Mistaking your thoughts about the future to be more real than the present moment.

For more info on futuring, check out:

 

2. Past-ing

Mistaking your thoughts about the past to be more real than the present moment.

Common versions of past-ing include:

  • Overgeneralization: Taking past failures as evidence that you will never succeed.
  • Resentment: Dwelling on, or reliving, harms you endured in the past.

For more info on past-ing, check out:

 

3. Aversion

Resisting the reality of the now. The now has already unfolded as it has unfolded. Any resistance you have to “what is” needlessly increases your suffering.

Common versions of aversion include:

  • Aversive Judgment: Defining self, others, or situations exclusively by their perceived negative or unskillful aspects. Often used to justify hatred and cruelty.
  • Aversive Mental Filter: Obsessing about one or a few negative aspects of yourself, others, or situations to the exclusion of all other points-of-view.
  • Disqualifying the Positive: Believing excuses and rationalizations for why the good, beautiful, and wholesome things in life “don’t count.”
  • Should Statements: Believing a situation or person should behave, act, or be other than they are.
  • Blaming/Complaining: Finding fault in self, others, and circumstances.
  • Hatred: Wishing someone harm.
  • Cruelty: Actively harming someone.

For more info on aversion, check out:

 

4. Greed/Clinging/Wanting

“Needing” things to be other than they are, or seeking joy from sense pleasures. The true, lasting joy we seek comes from within and now. To seek it outside of yourself in the world of sense pleasures, or in the conceptual future, only increases your suffering.

Common versions of greed include:

  • Jealousy/Envy: Believing you need, or should have, what others have.
  • Lust: Mistakenly believing you “need” sexual gratification. Lust leads to the unskillful view and treatment of others, and to sexual misconduct that harms yourself and others. Our sexuality is a sacred gift from life. Use it in a way that honors your and your partner’s commitments. Use it to express your true love and care for your partner’s wellbeing. Use it to heal, nurture, and benefit all involved.
  • Greedy Judgment: Defining a person or situation exclusively by their perceived positive or skillful aspects. Often leading to preferential treatment for some and punitive treatment for others.
  • Greedy Mental Filter: Focusing on one, or a few, positive aspects of yourself, others, or situations to the exclusion of all other points-of-view. This usually results in favoritism and a reluctance to skillfully acknowledge or address a person’s harmful behavior.

For more info on greed, check out:

 

5. Self-view/Personalization

Any time you take anything personally. Mistaking your possessions, relationships, labels, body, thoughts, emotions, habit-patterns, or anything else to be who you are. Anything you identify with in this way has the power to cause you to suffer when it inevitably changes. See it all as impersonal nature lawfully doing its thing, and the suffering lessens or goes away entirely.

Common version of self-view include:

  • Conceit/Comparisons: Any mislabeling of some life forms as superior or worthy and others as inferior or unworthy. Seeing yourself as “better than” or “worse than” others. Also, believing everyone has an equal opportunity and should be treated “the same.” In truth, we are all one. The same life than animates us, and is the source of all love, peace, compassion, and joy, is what animates all people, all creatures, and all life forms including so-called “inanimate” forms such as rocks, water, and air. At our essence, we are all one. See the value and worth of all life forms and treat them all with love and respect in skillful ways that do no harm.
  • Emotional Reasoning: Mistaking your emotions to be “who you are,” taking them personally, and using them to justify unskillful behavior.
  • Sensational Reasoning: Mistaking your sensations (such as pain or tiredness, etc.) or unpleasant mental states (such as restlessness, doubt, apathy, etc.) to be “who you are.” You take these sensations personally and use them to justify unskillful behavior.

For more info on self-view, check out:

 

6. Fixed View/Dogma

Mistaking a story, idea, belief, or thought to be “the truth.” Words are only symbols and references to something else. As pointers, words are not the truth themselves, nor can they ever express the full truth. By recognizing that there is no such thing as a true thought, we can skillfully and nimbly pick up thoughts when they do serve all life and let go of them when they do not.

Since all thoughts are, at best, only relatively true, evaluate any thought that arised: does this thought promote skillful behavior now? Does this thought help reduce suffering to myself and others now? Does this thought increase my sense of love, appreciation, compassion, equanimity, and joy now? If you answer yes to these questions, then recognize the thought as a relative truth that is useful and helpful in the present moment.

Because the thought is based on words, it is a relative truth, which means that this very same thought, in another circumstance, may be used unskillfully to cause harm to self and others. That is why we don’t want to cling to it as “the absolute truth.”

Moreover, because words are “fixed” and unchanging, and the ego mistakes words to be true, this leads the ego to mistakenly project this “fixed” and unchanging nature onto the forms, causing it to think that forms are more permanent and lasting than they are. This leads us to suffer when then inevitable change comes. This is why it is so important to see the impermanent nature of all forms and situations, to counteract that egoic habit pattern.

Common versions of fixed view include:

  • All-or-Nothing Thinking/Hyperboling: Evaluating self, others, or situations using extreme, hyperbolic, black-and-white descriptions and mistaking those descriptions to be the truth. It is best to recognize and avoid using exaggeration, hyperbole, and emotionally-loaded words in both your speech and thoughts.
  • Jumping to Conclusions: Making a guess about what is going on before the facts are available, and mistaking your guess to be the truth. Research has shown that our own biases (fixed-views), focus of attention, and emotional states distorts our perceptions of reality. Therefore, it is best if we calmly and rationally seek multiple sources of evidence to get a fuller understanding of what is happening, so we can respond in a skillful manner.
  • Mind reading: Guessing what other people are thinking and assuming it true.  What was written in “jumping to conclusions” applies here as well.
  • Labeling: Defining self, others, or situations with one word or phrase and mistaking these labels as “the truth.” Such labels are a gross oversimplification, often contain judgment, and frequently ignores what is good, beautiful, and worthy in the life form or situation.

For more info on fixed-view, check out:

 

Conclusion

Be mindful of these three truths, four states of being, and six delusions as they arise in your awareness, while meditating, and throughout your day. This will help you walk the path of purification that will rid your mind and body of delusion so you can live from your deepest, truest essence of unconditional love, peace, compassion, and joy. 

May love and wisdom protect you always. 

Download and print a two-page PDF summary of this page that you can reference in your daily life.