We devote an enormous amount of time to what is important to us, to what will make us feel good.
We take enormous care with our appearance: we try our best to dress well, because we will not feel good about ourselves if we look like something that only just survived a natural disaster; we take care of our skin, because we feel good about ourselves when we present a smooth, healthy complexion; we try to get some exercise, we try control our weight, so that we feel good about ourselves.
All of this is totally understandable, of course we will do this.
We avoid going out into the cold without wrapping up warm, because that would be unpleasant. We eat food that we enjoy - mostly - because it is pleasant, it makes us feel good. If we eat food that we do not enjoy, hopefully we are doing it for another reason, a health reason, and that will make us feel better about ourselves.
We devote all of this time to ensuring we feel good about ourselves.
And yet, when do we ever even consider what feeling good really means? Do we ever? Surely we should, if only so we can understand what it is we are actually after.
The key here are the words ‘feel’ and ‘feeling’: in this context, ‘feeling good’ is a matter of the mind. It is an emotion.
So, we are spending all this time on ourselves trying to create an emotion in our minds. But what of the mind itself? It would seem sensible that if our real objective is a state of mind, we should focus some attention on the mind itself. But do we?
This is not to say, of course, that we abandon everything else, our appearance and our activities, and focus solely on the mind - not at all. It is simply to say that as well as all we are doing now, we also devote some time to the mind. Pay some attention to it, to ensure, if you like, that it is receptive to feeling good.
This is a matter of mind exploration and mind training. Of taking some time and applying it to the mind - to exploring the nature of the mind and its different aspects; to understanding what it is we actually feel, and how it is we can feel it.
And exploring the different ways in which we actually contrive in our minds to stop ourselves from feeling good. Because we do, we do it all the time. It is natural, but it is also controllable: with mind training.
With this type of exploration, with this type of understanding, we come to understand the nature of what it is we are actually after - what it means, what it really means to feel good about ourselves. And we come to understand the ways in which we can and do actually block this feeling with our minds.
And with training, we can eliminate the ways in which we prevent ourselves from feeling good about ourselves.
Meditation is the essence of mind training. Take time from your day to explore your mind, to train your mind.
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