There are two ways you can accomplish this. You can work with the mind through meditation. And you can work with the mind through your everyday life experience.
Getting to Know Your Mind in Meditation
You may already be familiar with meditation. There are two basic methods of meditation:
Mindfulness of Body
Mindfulness of Feeling
Mindfulness of Phenomena
Mindfulness of Mind
With these four kinds of mindfulness, you can go all the way to the meditation on the nature of mind which is fully awakened in its own state.
The nature of our mind is taught to be egolessness. The nature of mind is taught to be buddhanature, full of luminous qualities. And the nature of mind is taught to be the nature of this very moment.
If we can penetrate and see this reality of our mind in this very moment, then awakening or buddhahood is right here. It is not something way out there in the future. It is right here in the present.
So, you can see that the process of working with your mind goes from the simple, or coarse, level of concentrating on the breath, to discovering more and more subtle aspects of your mindʼs nature. It goes deeper, into the archetypal level, so to speak. And transformation takes place at that deeper level of our consciousness, of our mind.
When your mind is in a meditative or contemplative state, you are in tune with awareness.
The second way of working with our mind is through everyday life experience. For most of us, this covers 99% of our days, doesnʼt it?
In everyday life, you experience so many colorful emotions. You go through ups and downs, like the stock market. In the course of our lives we encounter many challenges and even crises. Instead of dealing with these challenges, we would much rather transform all our confusions, crises, and suffering by mastering the mind through meditation.
Ideally, you can overcome every challenge you face, every obstacle you encounter, and every emotion you experience, through meditation. If you can control your mind, everything will become manageable. That is an ideal situation. Nevertheless, many of us donʼt have the capacities, or abilities, to only rely on meditation to overcome every obstacle we encounter, or every emotion we experience. It is difficult for us to transform our confusion, our anger and frustration, right on the spot. Why is that?
I think itʼs because meditation and awareness have not yet really taken root in our mind.
Even though we may know about meditation, and what is or isnʼt reality, if we donʼt have control of our mind –– if we have not mastered our meditation –– then these challenging situations or crises in our lives will tend to overwhelm us. They may totally take control of our mind and perhaps our life as well.
Weʼre constantly inundated with seemingly endless crises. Doesnʼt it seem that way sometimes? One crisis after another, one challenge after another, one struggle after another. Endless crises! And for some people, everything is a crisis. Not getting coffee on time is a big crisis and you freak out.
During these times of challenge and struggle, we are looking all over the place for a solution, arenʼt we? Weʼre looking for a remedy for our pain and confusion. And that search sometimes takes us to places we donʼt even want to be, like religious fanaticism. Then we seem to forget all about the importance of working with our mind and meditation. Does that sound familiar?
We can see that people who believe in religion sometimes do so not really out of choice, so to speak, but out of fear, in the midst of a crisis. In these situations we need some methods for working with our mind –– something not as subtle as meditation –– to overcome our struggles and challenges. Working with the mind in meditation is a precious opportunity, but not all of us have the leisure to engage in meditation, even though we recognize its value.