I like that Ashin Tejaniya says that meditation is mind work. We don’t generally talk about it this way. We talk about meditation like it is body work; like it is mostly about calming the body. Ashin Tejaniya, however, approaches practice from a different paradigm. I must admit I feel inadequate to completely explain his teachings. It is partially the reason for the delay of this post. He speaks in such succinct terms that I want to simply type out what he says in the book but I will try to give you my limited understanding of what he is pointing towards…
If you think about it, all we ever do is attend to something. We are constantly attending. I am attending to this computer as I type. I could type aimlessly thinking about something else. My attention would be on the “something else” not my typing. I could also go back and forth between typing and thinking. When I am aware of the experience of typing and/or thinking it is the mind at work. Awareness comes through the mind at whatever my attention is directed towards and is therefore mind work.
When we take this awareness and put it with right understanding – clear understanding around whatever we are attending to – we are meditating. This means that we are constantly existing within the framework of meditation. If we took advantage of this continuity of mediation we could liberate the mind and never once sit down on the cushion.
Clear understanding means not subjectifying (if that’s a word) anything. The minute we identify with the object we are attending to we are subjectifying which flings open the door to the defilements because of our underlying tendencies towards attachment and aversion. Given that we are human, we are constantly identifying with the objects that catch our attention; ergo the defilements are always arising. The trick is to not judge the arising of defilements nor their absence. It is far more important to simply notice or be aware either way. This takes being relaxed and having the right attitude (accepting the experience as it is). The more we practice in this way, the more we increase our ability to distinguish between the existence and non-existence of the defilements and how to recognize the path leading away from the arising of defilements.
Tomorrow night I’d like to take the first 5 practice points (I will read them for those of you who don’t have a book) and explore your thoughts around his concepts of mind work, relaxing and right attitude.