Published: 05/14/2012 - Updated: 10/18/2018
The faculty of attention is one of the most powerful creative potential of human beings, and one of the least developed and exploited. The power that can be reached by a trained mind, is undisputed by those who obtained it, it is a treasure that not everybody can get. It requires great determination, participation and patience. The development of the mind to awaken spiritual qualities and to achieve with these changes both internally and externally (in a sense, is the same), is known as Bhavanavala (Bhavana, cultivation or development, and vala, power) when this power is at the top, it leads to Nibbana, which is the state of enlightenment that teachers of the mind reach. This state of enlightenment is free from selfishness, separateness and aversion: ignorance.
MIndfullnes and Vipassana
To achieve this state of advanced knowledge, and create a connection between the mind and spirit, we find the practice of cultivating mindfulness (also known as Vipassana).
What is the cultivation of mindfulness or Vipassana meditation?
This meditation practice is to place the mind in a special state of receptivity, where you register an accurate knowledge of what is happening at the moment it happens. A state of full consciousness in the present moment is achieved, which allows access and actually feel what it is, without an opinion or judgment, allowing an intimacy with the events and experiences through a deep state of tranquility or concentration. Let's say that you put the mind in full flow now, without resistance to any events that happen, like putting a boat on the river without a paddle and get on it, allowing the flow of the river to move us. It is a state of total peace and trust, like the river, it lets the spirit guide us to where we should be guided. When this is achieved, we experience a deep calm and relaxation that can be summarized in a state of ecstasy, a delicious experience, and seductive, which is usually temporary.
Why is this important?
Vipassana or mindfulness meditation use the resource of care to break down the imaginary wall that often separates reality with the light that unifies all life. What you get is a deep connection with reality, events are logged just like they are, consciousness is bathed in pure information, i.e., without the distortion of judgments or parameters of the conditioned mind, which shows real data that feeds the mind and elevates to a state of heightened awareness and purity.
This is something that really draws the consciousness of man in all respects and exalts the mind.
Where is your attention?
In these modern times, it is easy to separate from present placing our attention on future or past time, we live thinking about what we will have, as what we had, in what we will do, in what has happened and will happen. We chat with someone else while thinking in other thing, our son talks to us and we don't pay attention... We hardly pay attention in the present moment. Why do you spend time caring what you eat, what you see, what someone else says, if we can use that time to solve, fix, etc..? But we do not realize that by ignoring our surroundings, we ignore our own dissatisfaction.
Mindfulness to connect with reality
We think that disconnecting us from reality we will forget those feelings of contradiction that life causes us, but these feelings are there, and eventually will return when we don't expect them. We cannot maintain for a long time the appearance that we have shown out there to live and be accepted. Trying to be nice, hiding our flaws and weaknesses, and trying to do things to fit the society, may exhaust ourselves, something will suddenly overcome us and we cannot pretend anymore our despair, discouragement and boredom. Why are we exhausted? Because we are going in backflow of life, which happens at present.
We are weak, we have feelings of violence and there are disaster in life, we feel it cold, distant, opaque. But we do not want to notice it. We are distracted with work, entertainment, television, games and even success. But all this is temporary. And although we know that there is a great way to live, feel and be, somehow we fail to connect with that grandeur. Destroy the dissatisfaction of modern man is to attack the syndrome "If I could ... have ... was....".
How does the faculty of mindfulness develop?
Learn to be connected with the present is to understand that meditation is active and alive. It is to realize the real situation in life, and admit it as is, without trial. Meditation can't be taught because experience can only be achieved through the practice of master meditator. However, many teachers have left some clues to teach, leaving valuable things, where the student participation is very important.
One of the keys to start practicing the art of mindfulness meditation is to understand that this is not just a relaxation technique. Vipassana Meditation also achieves a higher state of consciousness. Relaxation and concentration are essential to achieve that, but they are not the goal, which is a purification of the mind to feel better everyday by developing a refreshing insight and inspiration.