“When the modifications of the mind vanish,
it becomes like a transparent
crystal, attaining the power of transformation , taking on the colour
of what it rests on, whether it be the cognizer, the cognized or
the act of
“When the mind is void of its own form, it is luminous with
true knowledge” – Patanjali’sYoga Sutras.
When one brings awareness into ones life, the mind becomes still.
Once the mind is stilled it becomes receptive. This receptivity
gives the natural life force a channel to flow through. We are then
enshrined in our true nature.
Awareness comes from practice of dispassionate detachment. Become
aware of your thoughts and feelings and your self and look at all
three from afar. The sages remind us, “You are not your body
and you are not your mind. You are something beyond.”
How does one put this into practice?
Start with the breath:
Sit in a quite place with your spine straight. Close your eyes
and watch your breath. Don’t analyse don’t control,
Watch the inhalation and the exhalation. Become aware of your breathing.
Focus on the breath. Watch it for some time. Become aware of the
various stages. The inhalation, the pause after the inhalation.
the exhalation. The pause between the exhalation and the inhalation.
Has the act of observing affected the natural flow of breath. Are
you controlling it? Let it flow naturally. Just watch.
Thoughts will rise up and flow. Like clouds, they form and disappear.
Acknowledge them and let them pass. Do not react to them, be detached
and just watch. Practise this regularly. You don’t need much
time. Just 5 minutes to start with will do.
Watch your thoughts but do not wander with them. If you catch your
mind wandering, acknowledge the thought and let it go. Then start
over again. In the initial stages of meditation practice it is important
to start again and count the breaths. Each time the mind wanders
start the count again. The count can be a silent count, or can take
the form of a mantra, or one may count on ones fingers or on prayer
beads. But the count is essential. It helps focus and helps you
to discipline yourself. Each time you catch your mind wandering
and bring your attention back to your breath you are becoming stronger
in the practice.
Constant practice makes it easier as time goes by. Soon you will
reach a stage when you can leave the counting behind. In the initial
stages you will notice that the act of watching the breath is changes
and controls the breath. For beginning practice this is ok. You
can vary the inhalation and the exhalation to suit you. You can
watch the length of the inhalations and the exhalations and the
pauses in between. You can observe which of your nostrils is more
prominent. These observations and control through awareness help
in becoming conscious of a hitherto unconscious activity.
In later stages of meditation the control will flow away and you
will be able to observe the breath in its natural state. Then you
will just be the breath. The breath will breathe itself. Both the
body and the mind will fall away.
Witness your feelings:
A similar awareness exercise can be conducted on your feelings.
Neither be attracted to your feelings, nor agonise over them or
run away from them. Just watch with awareness and watch how your
mind reacts to them. This act of distancing will release the energy
that is being wasted in controlling and suppressing negative feelings.
It will reduce the power that feelings exert over you. You will
soon watch them dispassionately and see how they have been influencing
your actions and thoughts. Each time you get caught up in the feelings
remind yourself that you are neither your body nor mind but something
After constant practice you will come to terms with the feelings
that form such a large a part of your mental make up. You will understand
them and be comfortable with them.
The act of witnessing and distancing allows the life force to do
its natural healing. When we identify too much with the ego we become
attached to out thoughts and feelings. We see them as either as
pleasure producing or pain producing. Awareness practice helps us
to step back so that we can see things as they are, without the
colouring of attachments. We get naturally guided by the higher
self and thus transcend suffering and pain.
As the practice continues we learn to be with “what is"
and accept ourselves for what we are. We recognise the beauty of
our unique individuality respect ourselves for who we are.
Witness practice helps us to focus in the here and now. As the
mind stops being ruled by its own fluctuations we are able to focus
on the world around us.
Will and determination:
In order to succeed one needs to cultivate the desire to learn
and the determination to carry the practice through. This combination
of desire and determination results in long term benefits. This
satisfaction is different from the excitement one gets from short
As the awareness practice continues we observe and participate
not only with our mind but with our entire being. We develop a newer
perspective of the world with a heightened sense of involvement
and a greater orientation in the present.