Arriving Home :: Purifying The Mind Through Practice
Purifying The Mind Through Practice
Each time we meditate, in some way, shape or form, we are engaging in the practice of purification. Just what exactly are we purifying? The answer of course is unique to each of our own situations, yet most generally we purify what is not supporting us. Qualities such as anger, hatred, sickness, ill-will, sadness and apathy. How do we purify through practice? Just by engaging with the basics of meditation. We don't have to do much more then show up, begin and practice - purification is already taking place.
Meditation is all about approaching the wild meadow of the mind. We sit, we practice concentration, we observe and then over time we become the gardener. We get to see the nature of our own mind: what your repeating thoughts are, what your habitual thinking patterns are, and what "the greatest hits" of your own mind are (the topics your mind likes to think about the most). You also get to see what is helpful and what may not be as helpful when it comes to your habits, thoughts, reactions and approaches to responding.
A Practice For Identifying Thoughts In The Mind
Identifying your mental patterns and usual content buckets of thoughts is a practice that helps purify the mind. Through the awareness of your mental thought patterns, you are able to then purify what is not serving you and supporting you.
Begin by finding a comfortable posture and position. Allow your eyes to gently close.
Allow your attention to find your breath and focus on the next number of breaths.
When y0u feel like your attention has become steady and a bit more concentrated, start to turn your attention towards the mind itself. Notice if the mind is active, spacious, restless, open, dull or wakeful.
Once you have a sense of the current state of your mind, observe whether there are any thoughts or conversations happening in the mind and note them. You can label the topic of thoughts specifically, or use mental notes such as "thinking about the past", "thinking about the future", or "thinking about the present".
Continue this mental noting practice for the next few minutes.
When you are ready you can gently open the eyes.
If any of your thinking patterns were obviously unsupportive to you, note those topics. When they come up again, use your awareness to recognize them, send them compassion and then choose something different.