More than just mindfulness

The Wisdom Process

April 17, 2019 Season 2 Episode 30
More than just mindfulness
The Wisdom Process
Chapters
More than just mindfulness
The Wisdom Process
Apr 17, 2019 Season 2 Episode 30
Robert Mitchell
Clarity Meditation and The Wisdom Process allows us to observe our thoughts arising in our awareness.
Show Notes Transcript

Subtitle, the Design, History and Original Purpose of Meditation.
The content of our modern minds becomes overwhelming for us. There is so much messaging from so many sources, television, work, the media, advertising, the news, the internet, our devices, our family, our friends, partners and peers.
In the modern world, we make a critical, yet understandable error. We confuse the contents of the mind with the mind itself.
Thoughts are messages from our mind as it tries to interpret this incessant deluge of information. The mind is running a verbal interpretation of the complicated narrative it is trying to negotiate past our awareness in a search for consistency and resolution to its confusion. If it fails to gain consistency it continues to produce this stream of thought and then we have the modern mind. It is the work of many years to observe, notice and calm this process.
In this session, Robert teaches key meditations from the perspective of the ancient meditative concept of Clarity. 
Clarity meditation allows us to see what we project onto any experiences we have from our personal and cultural narratives. The Dzogchen Clarity meditation helps us to see what we bring to an experience and what it actually consists of as a sensory experience of the present moment without that narrative operating. We can witness our responses and thoughts arise, subside, become replaced and finally dissolve in the intricate detail of the experience of the present moment.
The Modern Mind meditation allows us to experience, at a very low level, the point where thought arises into our experience.
We can witness our thoughts arising through these mediations. This process of observing our mind witnessing thoughts arising is what Robert calls The Wisdom Process.
Meditations are: 
A Dzogchen Clarity Meditation
The Modern Mind Meditation.


Speaker 1:
0:11
The design, history and purpose of meditation. Okay. So let me just, one of the things that I mentioned quite a lot is what I now propose is the most useful purpose for meditation. What you want to get out of meditation. Looking at my personal experience, when I first learned to meditate, I want in my mind to be calm and still and clear like a in pool. And after a few weeks I discovered it wasn't, there was zero in the way of information and support. I think we might be a little bit worse off now because there's just too much of it and most of it is utter rubbish. So if you go on the Internet and ask how to meditate, you won't get anything useful. Whereas back in the day there was just nothing, um, AH, other than very dogmatic, religious and spiritual concepts. So I wanted my mind to be calm and still and clear and I didn't necessarily get that.
Speaker 1:
1:21
But what I did end up with was a couple of practices that I did to help me get to sleep and to enhance my experience when I was feeling good. And then my purpose change to, to be in present after I read the power of now by Eckhart solar. Hey, explained what presences this was pre mindfulness becoming a thing in the United Kingdom. Anyway, I think it was, it had already entered the public consciousness in the United States, but not in the UK. And so what presences or mindfulness is the undistracted awareness of the experience of the present moment. And you can make that a purpose quite reasonably. As time went on, I encountered [inaudible] Rinpoche shy, this was last year in April. Went along to one of his tours and he proposed that the purpose of meditation is to become familiar with the mind, which it turns out is a Tibetan tradition.
Speaker 1:
2:37
And the reason that that's the best purpose is because whatever happens in a meditation, you're more familiar with your mind as meditation is among other things, you're aware of the experience of the mind. So whatever happens, you've learned something about your internal processes and your mind. So whether that, so if if sat down and you want to calm your mind and you've got a busy mind or it your mind is in distress mode or in panic mode or whatever it happens to be, generally speaking, that would be seen as an unsatisfactory meditation because there's, there's a sense that we all have, which we've provided ourselves with the meditation is supposed to make you feel good and if you don't feel good then it doesn't work. Now having said that, at the end of a meditation, you want to feel better. If you don't, it's because you're too distressed, you're under too much stress to meditate.
Speaker 1:
3:42
Irrespective of that, that experience is still taught you something about your mind, so you're more familiar with your mind. Very interestingly, the original purpose of meditation is to experience something called clarity. Meditation's about 3000 years old. It found its way into written literature as 24002000500 years ago. Something like that. Through the teachings of Buddha and also through the Indian classics. There's two huge pieces of classical ancient Indian literature and the amount of Bharata is a story of the wall between two kingdoms, the panda bears and the corridors in the middle of that war, the war to end all wars in which everybody dies and there are two rows of elephants facing each other in this war and they go as as far as the eye can see it. And then there's warriors and they've got spears and arrows and they're all ready to fight. And a chariot drives out into the middle between these two rows of elephants and driving is Krishna who is the supreme embodiment of the universe.
Speaker 1:
5:19
Now I need to clarify here on, I'm an agnostic. This is to me, this is just a fascinating story. It's also a great insight into human nature and so he's driving the chariot and one of the princes of the panda family is, is in the chariot called Art Juna and they have a discussion for about, if you read it, it's a book called the Bhagavad Gita and the there. There are a lot of, you hear a lot of stuff about the origins of yoga, but this is the center of Yoga, is the Bhagavad Gita explains what Yoga is, and it also explains what meditation is and what the purpose of meditation is. And that very, very clear that the purpose of meditation is to see through the external illusion of the universe. So that's what we're going to do today. We're going to see through the illusion, so the Hindus call this illusion Maya, but we can call it culture.
Speaker 1:
6:30
That's probably the best, best way to see it. So that was the original purpose of meditation and that purpose has informed the design of meditation. So meditation has been designed to provide clarity of experience so that you can separate the material world and what the material world is is your senses. Yeah. If I look at the chair, what's happening is the, the lights, which is energy, the energy that's hitting the chair is hitting the receptors in my eyes and sending an electro chemical impulse to my brain, which I then reconstruct as an image of the chair. So everything that we see, it isn't real. It's a representation of what's there. So everything's energy. It's all energy. This is what we learned from Einstein and this is what quantum physics tells us and what we perceive it as matter, but it's a, it's a very simple experience.
Speaker 1:
7:48
The experience of now is what you can see, hear, smell, touch, taste, your balance, how cool or warm you are. Tired or alert. You are relaxed or tense. You are comfortable or uncomfortable. You are where you are in the room where your body is. This is a very simple experience and yeah, it becomes incredibly complex. So let's say I look at the wall plaque on the side of the building. Let's say we all look at it, it's all got, everybody that looks at it is going to see something slightly different. When I look at it, it reminds me of Wedgewood pottery because it's got that Matt light blue and white in Boston. Relief with Grecian patterns in it. But if you weren't familiar with Wedgewood pottery, you wouldn't say that if you weren't familiar with Grecian artworks, you wouldn't identify it as being Grecian. Maybe it isn't.
Speaker 1:
8:51
Um, so there you go. There's an assumption and notice what what's happening is I'm adding to the experience. The experience is colors, shapes, textures, contrasts, pattens, light, dark shadow reflections. But when I look at it, it has meaning to me and quite possibly everybody else that looks at it sees it and has a different meaning. This is Maya. This is the illusion. And the most interesting thing about it is to recognize that when we look at something like that, everybody sees something slightly different because of our experience, whether you have any experience of Wedgewood, maybe there's, you may be, you know exactly what it is and who the figures represent and what the activity is. Maybe this all sounds like meaningless Mumbo jumbo to you. It doesn't really matter. What you're seeing is what you're bringing to the experience. And we all bring our own experience and add genetic makeup, which is slightly different for everybody to every different experience. This process of clarity that the ancient Hindus and the Tibetan Buddhist, especially a group called Zog Chen, this is what they bring to.
Speaker 2:
10:34
Okay.
Speaker 1:
10:34
Every experience in the same way that we do. The only differences. If you meditate to experience clarity, then you allow yourself to notice what you bring to every experience and what you generally bring to every experiences. Recognition or dissatisfaction or satisfaction or an emotion that goes with it. There's meditations that help us to experience that and they pull clarity meditations. We're going to do one. Now. The original design of meditation is to achieve it. I ancient purpose to experience clarity and what clarity is, is being aware of the difference between an experience of the material world and the experience that we have based on what we bring to it.
Speaker 1:
11:47
To notice this, in a meditation, there's what's known as the Zog Chen clarity meditation. Now, normally when I teach, I teach meditation based on the breath. Lots of good reasons for that. Many, many, many. Uh, one is the breast neutral. Another is that the breath is portable. Where you go to the breath goes. It's persistent. That experience of focusing on the breath, that's the key to what I teach. But there's other sorts of meditation, some of which I teach. One in one is a thing called mantra meditation, where the object of the meditation is a phrase that we repeat in our minds or it could be chanting. So people get together in meditations and they chance and what they're challenging is known as a mantra. So my mantra is when words or chanting is the object of our meditation, Breath base meditation and body based Meditation, which is why I teach generally are the object of the meditation is is the body. There are all sorts of side effects to that which are fantastic. And there's another, which is called Mandela Meditation. So all the man Darla is, is any object that you choose to focus on as an object of your meditation.
Speaker 1:
13:16
And so what we've done this time, and if we've, we've chosen a water bottle now, one really handy side effect of focusing on objects is that it can help to calm the mind. So if you go online and you type in Mandela, you'll get many, many intricate circular, colorful designs. And they usually have a central spot. the.in the middle. That's what's known as a single point. And if you focus on that single point unwaveringly what happens is that has a tendency to calm the mind works for some people, doesn't work for other people. Um, but I, I don't tend to teach that.
Speaker 2:
14:14
Okay.
Speaker 1:
14:15
In the, in the clarity meditation is slightly different because the object is, is the entire object, the water bottle. And what will happen when we begin focusing our attention on it is that you will see what you bring to the experience. So I'll begin and end this with a bell when we need to do is sit comfortably.
Speaker 2:
14:48
Yeah.
Speaker 1:
14:54
And focus your attention on the man Darla. And then what will happen is many thoughts and responses to the experience will arise. You'll become aware of them. Probably the first one will be the feeling, what am I doing sitting here in a room staring at a water bottle and that will come and go. And then whatever other thoughts arise related to it. You may be familiar with the water bottle vendor, you my like or dislike the colors you may like or dislike. The design of the bottle. These are all things that you're bringing into it. Focusing on any object causes, all of the memories and emotions that are associated to it or anything or anyone that's associated to it or with it to arise in your awareness. So when you do this at home by suggest is you get something that's that translucent, like a water bottle works particularly well and something that's ideally got some history for you. It might be a gift, might be a souvenir or something that has meaning. What will happen is when you start focusing on it, that meaning will arise. The memories, the person that gave it to you, maybe where you were, whatever experiences you remember that are associated with it.
Speaker 1:
17:07
But after a while they diminish. So there's the experience of observing the Darla and then there's the experience of everything that's related to the object. And then after time what happens is we become more and more aware of the detail. So although it's just a water bottle, it's actually quite complex. You've got patterns, colors, contrast of color, shipe, contrasts of shapes, reflections, shadows.
Speaker 2:
17:59
Yeah,
Speaker 1:
18:01
light and dark parts. There's texture. Everything that we see brings with it the sense of what it would be like to touch it and the mind on its own chooses some detail to focus on. It might move around on the object, but eventually it settles down. As you notice one detail that for some reason the mind has chosen to be fascinated in, so just practice this man dollar meditation for a short while. Mind might wander the mind might busy be busy, but no, it's how very lightly our attention will remain. Our focus and our awareness will remain on the Mandela and then at the end of the mind wandering or when the thoughts come down, just come back to notice in the detail again,
Speaker 3:
21:16
every already just ascension to the room. I said the thing to remember about that is you can do it in many places now so you can look for something which has an abstract and nature to it. If you can choose, generally speaking, there are reflective things around, there's windows, there's glass vessels, there's water bottles on steel and on metal and in floors and doors. Anywhere where there's wood, you've got the pattern of the grind. And so you can do Amanda Mandela Meditation. And what's happening is you're actually noticing the mind. So you becoming familiar with the mind, becoming familiar with your, your response to your experience, and just a simple meditation like that. Everybody's response will be slightly different.
Speaker 3:
22:38
Okay. So that's, that's, that's not as portable as the breath, but because there are places and times when you can't really do it, but it's, it's a good option for meditation. And so you're noticing this clarity, which is the, what you're bringing to the experience and you're noticing how you bring it to the experience when the thoughts arise and the emotions that are related to the experience of observing the bottle. Kenny. So what I'm going to do now is a meditation that I call the modern mind meditation. I've been teaching this for a few weeks. I, and w what it consists of is a number of meditations strung together. And the first one is, isn't really a meditation, it's a listening exercise. It's what I call the meditation of no meditation. So all you need to do it. Generally speaking, you're better off closing your eyes because you want to focus on sound, but if you draw the not you can look down, pass the tip of your nose with your eyes, half shots and then you're able to avoid being distracted by anything that's going on around you.
Speaker 2:
24:10
Okay.
Speaker 3:
24:12
And what this is is a process of waiting and also a process of listening and we're listening for something very specific, which is the next sound.
Speaker 2:
24:32
Okay.
Speaker 3:
24:32
So there, there is sound, some of its persistent, some of it's repetitive, some of it's occasionally just pops up.
Speaker 2:
24:42
Okay.
Speaker 3:
24:44
And the modern mind focuses on one sound until it's extracted. Whatever value it can from that sound and then it focuses on another sound. And then if there's nothing to listen to, then it will seek distraction elsewhere. While this is happening, our ancient mind at genetic programming is scanning our environment for sound. And this is just plugging into that process is happening all the time, like continually aware subconsciously of the sounds around us, and they could be anywhere in front behind, above, below to the left to the right and just allow that sound into your awareness and just white waiting for the next sound. Oh, sounds get registered by the brain. Incredibly quick thing, and they're not brought to our attention unless there's some sort of threat or some thing that we need to do to respond to it. So we don't need to think about the sounds. We just need to be aware, the constant flow of new sound popping into our experience and so there's nothing to be done. No goals, no expectations.
Speaker 2:
26:59
Okay.
Speaker 3:
27:02
We're just allowing ourselves to be aware, but we're waiting for the next sound, whatever it might happen to be and wherever it may arise, because that's nothing to do. You can't get this wrong.
Speaker 2:
27:52
Okay.
Speaker 3:
27:58
Sorry. It's just listening. Just listening for the next sound.
Speaker 2:
28:47
Okay.
Speaker 3:
28:49
Unfortunately today there were a lot of voices around us. You're able to notice the hubbub of voices. Notice that all sounds are also part of this hub bub. So just noticing hubbub of sound because we're always waiting for the next sound were able to notice sound moving through time. That's a help I'll do is I'll sound the bell. So listen to the bell. You moved here, the movement of the sound of the bell moving through time. Okay. Now we're going to do a slightly different exercise this time. Don't listen to the sound of a bell. Continue listening for the next sound. Noticing the flow of time through all sounds all around us and allow the sound of the bell to be in the background. So all the sound of the bell is there for is to help you notice the movement of time. I know actually listening for the next sound throughout here all just listening, noticing the hubbub and noticing the sound notice in the present moment. Moving through the sounds, the flow of time and as well as all of the other sounds. Of course there's the sound of my voice, but in the same why you left the sound of the bell in the background. Leave the sound of my voice in the background.
Speaker 3:
32:37
No, just notice in the next sound.
Speaker 2:
32:44
Okay.
Speaker 3:
32:45
That sounds around you or whether it's my, of course throughout all of this, your thoughts are arising also into your awareness. The awareness is like a space within. The awareness is all sound my words and your thoughts arising and subsiding your thoughts. So just part of the hubbub, Andrew, our emotions sound my words or thoughts, your emotions. Oh, part of the hubbub of the present moment. Notice the sounds all around you. Notice your thoughts coming and going. Uh, my words one replaced
Speaker 2:
35:05
with
Speaker 3:
35:09
another.
Speaker 2:
35:11
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
35:25
Now notice we come white for sounds arise. They might be lots of sounds. There may be many voices, but we stay there on
Speaker 2:
35:38
the edge of the present moment.
Speaker 3:
35:44
Sound of the bell ringing in the background, helping us to notice the flow of time. A note is you can do the same thing with your thoughts. You can witness your thoughts waiting for the next thought to our eyes. Notice your thoughts arising and subsiding.
Speaker 2:
36:18
Yeah.
Speaker 3:
36:19
What do you feel mind is quiet. Just waiting for the next thought and the sound of the bell in the background moving through time.
Speaker 2:
36:48
Okay.
Speaker 3:
36:49
Just waiting. Waiting for the next Thor. When a thought arises maybe straight away, maybe after a little while. Well we do is when we notice the thoughts arisen, we [inaudible] using our inner voice. We say in our mind thinking,
Speaker 2:
37:21
yeah,
Speaker 3:
37:21
Francesco back from white for the next thought. Waiting for a thought. A thought arises. Sinai mine thinking. Alright. For the next thought, this is like a cycle cycle of waiting for a thought. When a thought arises, we say thinking in our minds using the inner voice. We come back from white for the next thought on repeat. Practice this for the next few minutes. It's called labeling the thoughts. No, it's his, the hub bub of the faults. Just the same as the hub of the sound. How about of my words?
Speaker 2:
38:58
Okay.
Speaker 3:
39:05
Slowly moving through time. When you notice a thought, just like thinking and then wait for the next thought so that I won't wake them to do is notice the quality of thought. So here are the categories of the quality of thought. Some thoughts are fleeting. I arise in our mind and they're gone. Often when they're gone, we forget them instantly thought arises and subsides. Goldman, they're fleeting. Some thoughts are repetitive and keep coming back over and over again. They're repeating, so we've caught fleeting, repeating how's assaults? Hang around, thought arises and it stays there. It takes up a parking space in our head. These thoughts are persisting, so fleeting, repeating, assisting, and then all the thought is compelling. It's powerful as an emotion associated with it takes over. Our mind creates scenarios. It's what David, these thoughts so compelling. Just sitting quietly.
Speaker 2:
41:24
Okay,
Speaker 3:
41:24
notice in thought arise and when a thought arises, we label it with one of those four labels. Fleeting,
Speaker 2:
41:37
okay.
Speaker 3:
41:38
Repeating, persisting or compelling. Just label it and then we wait for the next door. It doesn't matter if you get the label right or not. Fleeting, repeating, persisting, compelling white sand for soul for arises. We label it fleeting, repeating, persisting, compelling white for the next door. Repeat. This is labeling the quality of thought. Just noticing for just allowing ourselves to be aware of thought arising and then labeling it. Fleeting, repeating, assisting, or compelling.
Speaker 2:
44:32
Okay.
Speaker 3:
44:42
And now noticing sound was coming back to waiting for the next sound. Yes. In the hubbub of sound. And now let your mind go free. Breathing in, noticing whatever it is you can smell. You can taste the sensation of sitting, feeling of being pushed down into the ground. Your feet into the floor.
Speaker 2:
46:19
Okay.
Speaker 3:
46:20
And your body. And so the chairman and your very, very on time, Jen, either turn your ascension. So the room.
Speaker 2:
46:36
Okay,
Speaker 3:
46:49
so everything has a spice, a place in the universe, right as my thumb. Here's my head as the wall where a thoughts, they're in there somewhere, right? Pointing at our heads.
Speaker 2:
47:14
Sorry.
Speaker 3:
47:18
The subconscious mind, which you, you will have got quite close to noticing. Most of you. Then hands up. Anybody got to a slightly dreamy, sleepy stay. All right, everyone, right? Yeah. When we were doing the labeling and the quality of thought, and you're noticing the undercurrents of the mind that says, this is what I notice when I look at the origin of thought, whereas the next thought coming from, look is a unhelpful word because it's not looking. I'm searching for it. Where is it? And you notice one way that I describe it is like a bubbling cauldron of broth and you see little bits of peas and carrots and vegetables and meat bubbling up. It's always there.
Speaker 3:
48:24
Yeah. It's just doesn't tie in any momentum thought, gains momentum in our mind. And by doing these labeling practices, what we're doing is we're stopping thought from gaining generally a lot of momentum. So even if there's a constant chatter in the mind, it's broken up. And because of that you're witnessing, you're experiencing thought closer to its origin. And what is its origin? Its origin is, is what we call, it's an unhelpful term, the subconscious mind because it's all unconscious. It's all subconscious. But there's an awareness that's, that's all there is to consciousness is an awareness and we're aware of the thoughts arising because the thoughts don't get any momentum. We're constantly returning to the origin of thought. And the origin of thought is as the Subq currence, there's this constant bubbling cauldron of thought, some of which we become aware of and gain some momentum and some of which doesn't.
Speaker 3:
49:51
And only when we drift into sleep or wearing a meditation like this that we become aware of that. And that's got a name, it's called a hypnagogic state. It's that dreamy space that when you're really, really tired so you get a few moments to yourself and your eyes and you aren't going into this quite enjoyable dream where you're still the waking you. Yeah, but your, your inner dream and the way that I describe it is like walking along the beach, you know, you get very flat beaches and tiny little waves that roll up and just come as high as your ankles and then they wash away. There's that sense that you're walking along there and there's, there's these currents of thought arising in your experience and drifting their why and what you're noticing. There is deep internal process. I call this the wisdom process. Your awareness of your awareness is true wisdom because let's say here I am, there's the relief on the wall. There's the colors, there's the shapes as the textures and then there's everything that my culture brings to the experience and then there's my awareness of the experience. Once I am aware of what I'm bringing to an experience that's clarity.
Speaker 3:
51:33
The AG culture, there is a barrage of messaging, news, peers, internet, mobile phones. You know the new thing is you're going to be barraged with adverts in your messaging. Apps begin to get comfortable with that. That's going to happen in the next couple of years. You began to send a message to your mate and upward pop some advert, unless you pay money to make it go away. It's constant, repetitive, persistent, and it fills our lives and it fills our mind and we spend most of our experience lost in the content. Good, bad, right, wrong, fair, unfair, useful, not useful. One it don't want it, hate it, love it, avoid it, have it, do it. That's the content and we don't know is the process and here's the beauty of it. When you notice the process, the content goes away and everything becomes better because for most people, for most of the time, the present moments overwhelmingly good.
Speaker 3:
52:57
So I know that in this group there are people at all sorts of differing levels of stress and worry and fear and anxiety and anger and resentment and all this kind of stuff. And I have in the past and those still do from time to time. It's mine. I own it. It came in this door with me. All I want is to learn how to let it go. And this is it. This is repeat these processes, this meditation of the modern mind following the breath meditation, the man, Darla, meditation's the mantra. Meditations, repeat them often enough. And the ancients have designed you get clarity whether you like it or not cause you can't help noticing the stuff that you add to your experience but don't, don't make that your goal. Make your purpose, becoming familiar with the mind cause it's same thing essentially will becoming familiar with the mind coming from familiar with the contents of the mind and then the, the, the messages diminish in power. And they go away and we're left with the present moment, which is a wonderful thing.