Meditations are designed to help train the mind to be present, to control unruly feelings, to control unruly thoughts, to celebrate good intention, and to promote awareness. The following meditation is a simple one, based on five elements of the mind. You can read more about those five elements here.
THE AIM OF THE MEDITATION
The aim of this meditation is to calm the mind, and to put it into right relation with its surroundings. When we get busy, we forget to be present; we follow our feelings wherever they want to go; we pursue anxious and obsessive thoughts; we get confused about what we are trying to do; and we lose our sense of space and awareness.
THE COMPONENTS OF THE MEDITATION
This meditation uses five very short phrases:
- I am
- I feel
- I think
- I do
- I am aware
THE MINDFULNESS BEHIND THE MEDITATION
- When saying ‘I am‘, we consider the fact that we are here. This is a very simple thing, that everyone can say. it points to the mystery of being, the miracle that we exist without having to do anything to earn our existence. We just are. Many people find this thought a comfort in itself. It stops us reaching for more.
- When saying ‘I feel‘, we ask ourselves what we are feeling right now, in this moment. Often, the answer is that exactly now, we have no extreme feelings. We did a minute ago, but we don’t right now. Right now, we can enjoy the contemplation that we are not addicted to any particular pleasure, nor feeling sick from any particular pain.
- When saying ‘I think‘, we ask ourselves what we are thinking right now, in this moment. Often, the answer is that exactly now, we have no detailed thoughts. We did a minute ago, but we don’t right now. Right now, we can enjoy the contemplation that we are not hitching a ride on any particular set of thoughts.
- When saying ‘I do‘, we ask ourselves whether we are performing ‘right action’. If we are meditating, then we are training our minds into peace, which is likely to be a right action, and so we can rest calmly in that assurance.
- When saying ‘I am aware‘, we leave behind analysis. This should be easier, now that we have just scanned the other elements of our mind, leaving pure awareness. In this state of awareness, we can rest, without the need to do anything except be present.
We can either stay in awareness, or return to the first phrase, ‘I am‘, and start the cycle again. The idea is that by repeatedly and gently scanning our mind, we relax the hold of alternative identities, feelings, thoughts and actions that may be torturing us. We become simple sitters, uncomplicated, free of the tangles that plague an unhealthy mind.
WHY THE MEDITATION WORKS
This meditation feeds on the five main aspects of the mind: form, feelings, thoughts, intentions, and awareness. Because it accurately reflects the make-up of our minds, we experience the meditation as very soothing and appropriate.
- By saying ‘I am‘, we become aware of, and accept, our simple presence or form
- By saying ‘I feel‘, we become aware of our capacity to feel, and the awareness masters the feelings
- By saying ‘I think‘, we become aware of our thoughts, and the awareness masters the thoughts
- By saying ‘I do‘, we become aware of our capacity to act rightly, and the awareness focuses our intent
- By saying ‘I am aware‘, we can rest in the four preceding awarenesses
The meditation brings us to consciousness, or rather stops us being a victim of unconsciousness.
For a discussion of unconsciousness (being a victim of negative emotions), perhaps watch this clip from Eckhart Tolle.