The last topic ended with the statement that one of the main aims of inner research is to overcome the “ignorance of the mind” (ignorance in its true meaning: ignoring how the mind functions and how to use the mind instead of being used by it).
Stopping the production of negative, destructive thoughts such as the negative emotions produced by these thoughts is not an easy task nor is it a short- term effort. If we don’t become fully aware of how the mind produces what in the Buddhist tradition is called “suffering”, how the mind could be deceitful, we’ll be incapable of finding the possibility of the cessation of what makes us “suffer”.
We have to understand the mind in all its aspects and facets, both in its superficial and deep levels. We have to deepen our mind so that we can discover the hidden tendencies that have us stuck in the ordinary state of awareness (during our walking state).
At first glance, it would seem that we have to merge ourselves in deep meditations to be able to notice this, but in this case, meditation, a great gift given, is not the mean: we have to see the expressions of the mentioned latent tendencies in everyday activities, in the hundred facets of our behavior.
We must become aware of our behavior, especially when we get in touch with different persons and situations during the day. In this way, we’ll become able to notice what is and what is not important to us. We’ll become able to see the hidden influences, the source of which lies in the meanderings of our mind.
In order to accomplish this task we need an extra attention without which it will be impossible to understand and explore ourselves in the subconscious fields that are ordinarily not perceivable. And, all this must be done with seriousness and sincerity, but still without producing any kind of tension.
Being serious doesn’t mean aping a state of seriousness according to what we have learned, in accordance with our conditionings; regarding this, and with a little observation and sincerity, you’ll notice this aping behavior in many people who claim to follow a “serious path of self-observation”.
Seriousness is something totally different from these childish behaviors: it means to give total attention to what lies in front of our nose, on what is happening right now. When you are here, now, in the present with your whole heart, any tension will deflect the energies you need to accomplish this task towards fears and confusion. In such a way, by maintaining our attention, it will be possible to experience very deep states of calm and lucidity because we don’t give space to negative interferences.
In such a way the practice of observation becomes an interesting and pleasant practice without tensions or expectations, and not another source of our frustrations and suffering (“Oh, my God, I can’t observe myself, I have not enough energy-will, I’ll die as a failure and I deserve this. I suck!”)
Remember this statement: where there is expectation, there is fear and suffering.
Indeed, when we expect a result, even of becoming more “awake”, we hope that it will happen, we hope we’ll achieve our goal; and, in some subtle but destructive way, where lies expectation, lies also the fear of not achieving it. Even if it will happen, there will be a fear of “losing it”. Fear is a subtle factor, but active and implicit to expectations.
It is a matter of fact that most of us can’t live without expectations; expectation is a kind of mechanical “hope”, and we have all learned that “Hope is the last to die”. So, expectations.
Only one who has released himself from the illusory process of expecting something can succeed in overcoming the limits imposed by the mind, from the habitual mechanics that determines his daily life, because he knows that real life is in the present and here he finds his realization – without expectations, without fears for the future.
Only in the present moment can we obtain what in Buddhism is known as a “clear mind”, one of the main characteristics of a free and realized being.
Indeed, only with a clear mind and the following sensitivity to all that surrounds us, are we able to develop Love and Understanding, producing a “right action” and a radical inner change, without any need for expectations or planning. The same act of hoping is an obstacle to action because it entails ideas concerning the future and this produces a gap between the subject and the present action.
When we indulge in expectations, we produce a resistance to what happens in this present moment, we try to take refuge in what should be instead of the experience of what it is. And this resistance hampers the possibility of a dynamic way of living.