← Back to Kinfonet

The Mirror of Meditation

“Meditation is awareness of the movement of thought as the “me”.”
Public talk 4 in New Delhi, December 10, 1973

When the mind turns its attention to its ongoing operation, it sees that it is a compulsive generator of thoughts, many of which turn attention away from the passive observation of thought to the active generation of more thought.

The mind resists self-examination, and it does this because it is conditioned to regard its imagined identity as essential, for the false confidence it provides.

The mind is meditating when it is learning how to passively observe its movement and its conditioned response to it. Unlike egocentricity, meditation is not driven by desire, fear, or ambition, but moved by the need to know what the mind is keeping from itself…supposedly for its own good.

There is this good in talking together, and discovering the conditioning, and unearthing the ego and all that. I understand there is this common idea meditation is a process or a method of exploring the mind, and there are various ways of doing it, but to be doing this is not meditation. We might start out this way, and realise what the mind is doing, but the meditating is the quietness and sensitivity at the passing of all that activity. The mirror is ever present, and can be seen now in life.

There is no secret being kept hidden.
Me searching for something is motivation in action - is the movement of the self.
If there is a learning process, it is the process of recognising our automatisms - our habitual dependance on knowledge - instinctual discrimination. (and letting go of those recognitions too - if there is a learning process it is to be less dependant on learning)

Regarding mirrors - 2 potential zen masters were asked to produce a poem indicating their understanding - the first guy wrote the following :

Our body is the Bodhi-tree
And our mind a mirror bright.
Let us polish it endlessly
and let no dust alight

To which the second guy replied :

Bodhi is not an entity
nor our mind reflecting light
since there is no duality
where can dust alight ?

Bodhi can mean awakening or wisdom - the poems could be descriptions of meditation.

What makes you so sure?

Me searching for something is motivation in action - is the movement of the self

Meditation is not “me searching for something”. It is the exposure of “me” and it’s reaction to itself. This exposure is not motivated because “me” has nothing to gain from meditation.

Isn’t it a fact that the mind has been looking outwardly for that secret path to truth which will unlock the door of its discontent and free it from fear and turmoil? And isn’t “the movement of thought as the ‘me’” - the seeming twoness of “me separate from thought, me which can act ON thought” - perhaps the very secret which man is seeking externally? … So that secret is not to be found externally but inwardly. And what MAKES it a secret is that the mind is unaware of its own functioning. No?

In the light of awareness, motive too is seen. Motive is part of the movement of thought as the ‘me’, isn’t it. And when motive is seen dispassionately and therefore understood, is it still motive? Isn’t it then true “learning” as you yourself mention?

1 Like

I was struck by a new insight into this idea of learning and motivation thanks to this talk on “thought & consciousness” namely that learning and motivation are movements based on the illusion of separation between ‘thought & thinker’ - between ‘consciousness & its content’.

If I look at my thoughts as if we were separate entities, there can be a confused and powerful relationship between us. With all its fascination, struggle and conflict due to separation. If I realise that the thought is me - silence is immediate. There is no more struggle, nothing to learn, no where and no one to go.
Where is the thinker when thought stops? What is consciousness without its content?
This is the beginning of meditation.

Yes. The mind is mostly unaware of its own functioning, and aware only of its superficial movement. This means that most of its activity is secreted, secret.

The “seeming twoness of thought”, the duplicity of thinker and thought, is realized in meditation. “I”, the “me”, the illusion of the thinker is sustained by identifying with certain thoughts and opposing others. This false conflict is created by desiring and cultivating an identity.