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What is “Mindfulness Meditation?”

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These days we hear a lot about mindfulness meditation. But do you really know what that means? You may have noticed that I never use that term. At best, that terminology is off-target. I’ve tried several times to see if there’s something I’ve missed. But each time I read what various people have to say about it, I come up with muddled meanings and unclear ideas. That doesn’t satisfy me. I want straight answers with clear meanings.

If the teachers who promote mindfulness mean awareness of the mind and what the mind is doing, then I agree in principle. Although, that may also lead many students away from self-development aimed at attaining the true meditative state. Yes, you need to be aware of what your mind is doing, but you also need to train it to be still.

But just being aware of your mind—and, for example, knowing that it’s worrying about your income taxes or changing the oil in your car—is not enough. That will not bring you to the true meditative state. In addition to being mindful, you must also train the conscious mind to be still. You must empty your mind of all thought. You must be wide awake, fully aware, and have an empty mind. That is the true meditative state. That is the Zen state.

Yes, becoming mindful—that is, aware of what your mind is doing—is indeed a necessary step toward learning meditation. But it is not the meditative state. Thus, teaching “mindfulness meditation” might be a disservice to many students.

Go see for yourself. The way of the empty mind is the primary teaching of Buddha, Bodhidharma, the recently departed Osho, and other enlightened masters. You’ll find a synopsis of their teachings in my ebook, Original Zen, on amazon.com.

 

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

August 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm

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