If we maintain a regular practice of Mindfulness, the cascading thoughts and emotions start to settle and space and clarity begins to appear in our minds. In the beginning it is as if we decide to face ourselves and walk into a darkened room, which is our unaware mind. As Mindfulness strengthens the room starts to light up, almost as if someone is turning up the dimmer switch. We start to see the furniture in the room. We start to see what is going on in our minds, what patterns are driving us and what pain we are suppressing.
We begin to see that there is a space between ourselves and our thoughts and that most of the time we latch onto and run with whatever thoughts pop up in our mind. We don’t notice this space. Mindfulness practice is about recognising and developing this space.
We then realise that we have a choice as to what thoughts we think. We don’t have to dwell on negative thoughts. We can instead cultivate positive ones. A lot of the time we dwell on negative thoughts, believing they are a true reflection, and feed our life energy into them.
We then begin to see that the mind is very powerful and it creates our entire experience. If we cultivate wholesome thoughts and feelings we attract wholesome experiences into our life. If we dwell on negative thoughts and feelings, we attract negative experiences. Everything in life is interconnected, so how we think determines what we experience.
As our practice deepens further, we realise that none of what is going on in our minds is solid and real. We make it solid and real. We notice how the mind grasps onto experiences, makes them solid and calls them ‘me’. Mindfulness is about cultivating a non-grasping quality of mind. It is about seeing the non-solidity and impermanence of our experience.
The more we practice Mindfulness the more well-being, peacefulness and clarity begins to emerge in our mind. We realise that things are not as we thought they were. We have just been in the grip of a fever that we have taken to be real. This fever is our habitual way of thinking and judging and reacting. And if we feed it, it continues endlessly.
To use a simple analogy, it is like the clouds obscuring the sun. The clouds represent all our worries, busy thoughts and ups and downs. The sun represents our inner well being and peacefulness which is always there behind the clouds. Through practicing Mindfulness the clouds start to break and disperse and the sun begins to shine through more and more.