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Looking Through the Fabricating Mind

Attitude and Technique - The Fundamentals of Meditation
Attitude and Technique – Fundamentals of Meditation
Presence and Goals – Adding Quality and Direction
Presence and Goals – Adding Quality and Direction

If you are a human being born and raised in this world you may be familiar with the various habits of an overactive mind. You might have noticed the constant and unstoppable stream of thoughts, an endless narrative based on the way we are brought up and fed by culture, society, media and countless other circumstances. These feelings and moods created by our mind form and shape our decisions, actions and reactions continuously, second by second.

What are the consequences of being governed by a mind conditioned entirely by external input? Is there a way out of this self-made little prison in our head? Can we ever experience true happiness as long as we are remaining on the surface of our thought-made “reality”? Let’s see…


Voices in Your Head

Have you noticed them? Most people actually believe that they ARE the voice which is talking inside of their head – all day long. They are completely unaware that there’s such a thing as a voice in their heads, never really questioning it. Most live their entire life completely identifying with this compulsive narrative. At some point, mostly when they would like to relax, sleep or meditate they suddenly become aware that the voice is not “allowing them to relax, sleep or meditate“.

Then there’s often a first awakening experience. As a result we wake up to the fact that we can listen to the compulsory “blablabla”. We can actually detach from the storyline and observe it without identifying. Being here as an internal listener rather than a talker can in itself be a very liberating experience actually. Therefore with this insight there often comes a deeper understanding of ourselves as well. And this understanding can reach pretty deep!

The Conditioned Mind is Neither Me nor Mine

One of the most powerful insights is surely the insight that thoughts are neither made, maintained or dissolved by an independently existing ME-entity. They simply fulfill their function. Let’s say that a visual input arises in your awareness, you see a flower. Based on this input, the mind immediately proceeds by labeling, judging and storytelling. It categorizes the flower, gives it a name and remembers that time in your life when you were “happier” and when your significant other handed you a similar flower. A feeling of sadness immediately follows and causes certain physical reactions. This cause and result chain is endless.

All the various things that are arising in the mind are simply natural conditions. Just stuff happening. Thoughts come and go, they follow their nature. The problem is that we don’t see the thoughts – we feel as if we were the thinkers instead. The various fabrications that arise are in reality neither owned nor created by a seemingly solid entity called “me”. Thoughts and other mental fabrications are a product of circumstances. They come from the way we’ve been raised, from what we’ve read, from the media we consume and the people we hang out with among many other things.

Seeing Through the Fabricating Mind

Once we can see that thoughts and other fabrications are just “conditions happening” we gradually detach from the mental processes at play. This gives us a sense of freedom and spaciousness. Like someone that knows a mirage as a mirage. Such a person is not fooled or deluded by their own mind. They can look through to the other side of thought and fabrication easily. This takes practice and time and eventually leads to a widening sense of ease and joyful presence.

If you keep observing the various fabrications you will gradually start to see through them. The mind is incessantly producing holographic images, stories, words, sentences, moods and feelings. It judges and interprets the world, tries to make sense of it in the light of memories and anticipations. All these are naturally arising, changing and passing, flickering rapidly through the present moment awareness. The deeper your seeing goes, the more you can see through the insubstantial nature of mind-made stuff.


Feel free to leave some good comments (Everybody can benefit from your skillful contributions!) I will simply delete Self-promotion (e.g. “I love your article. Please check this link to my own site.”). I might post your links if they are truly relevant and contribute to the readers experience though. We are open for meaningful discussions and hope that this article serves as an inspiration for you.

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Tobi has been studying and practicing meditation since 2002. He stayed 7 years in a Tibetan Buddhist Temple and currently lives in Thailand where he founded the Dharana Meditation and Retreat Center in Phuket with his wife Parn. In Thailand he continued his practice and found a spiritual home within local Theravada Buddhism. Tobi is known for an open and relaxed teaching style focusing mainly on a practical application of mindfulness meditation within a modern society. The direct experience of what the practical teachings point to is of foremost importance to him.

1 Comment

  1. Jana York says:

    I have come to notice the voices in my head and thankfully more aware of the destruction and negative emotions they can render. I am speaking of the storyline that keeps you awake at night or distracted from the task at hand. Or even worse tries to lure you away from a beautiful present moment. One you can never get back. Sometimes it is a joy to reminisce of the past or plan for a blissful future. My simple self advise is to avoid the traps when thoughts are not useful. I attended the retreat in July of this year and found so much peace there. It has stayed with me and reading your blogs helps me to stay connected to what matters most. The Present! Thanks for all you have offered to so many. Blessing, Queen B.

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