Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain--but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. There's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind. Driving you mad. - Morpheus; The Matrix
It is this inexplicable 'knowing' that drives many of us to begin searching for another way of being. There isn't a thought as such that something is 'wrong', it's much more a 'knowing' and we somehow know that it is to do with mind but also to do with everything. That is because everything that most of us call 'reality' arises from mind.
Our exploration of all of this should be experiential. Books, teachers and other sources can be useful to trigger new avenues of investigation but ultimately it is and can only be our own experience that will reveal the truth of things to us in a lasting way. There is a saying 'It is like a finger pointing to the moon; don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the glories of the heavens'. Many of us get so overtaken by reading about matters of the mind, listening to podcasts about it and going to more and more teachers to learn additional techniques that we forget it is the practice itself that is the only way to pull up the roots of our unhappiness or mental discomfort. You cant keep running from the practice and expect to get any benefit.
The problem is that we tend to try and tackle this problem using by using our mind in an attempt to unpick a problem that is fundamentally caused by our mind, it's a bit like trying to fight a fire by setting light to more things. Of course we predominantly use our mind to solve most of the problems in our lives, or at least we imagine that we solve them, therefore it seems logical that mind will be equally useful here.
There is a simple meditation exercise that many people have tried at some time or another - we watch the thoughts as they appear and then drift away. There is often a focus on this observing and then allowing them to pass. What most of us overlook is the most obvious thing: if I assume that I am my mind, then who on earth are these thoughts appearing to and who are they passing away from?
If we are those thoughts then we would become a little bit 'less' each time the thought moved on wouldn't we? Yet we are still very much here.
There is something else, a canvas if you like, onto which these thoughts are projected. The canvas never changes, never gets coloured by the projections, it is always there regardless of if anything is projected upon it or not.
Insight meditation could be said to be an exploration of what this canvas is and to rest more and more simply as the canvas. In fact you cant actually be anything else as you already are the canvas, you have simply forgotten the fact!
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