In this article I will clarify how to train the mind in three stages for the sake of long-term benefit and release from suffering. Sometimes people wonder what we are actually doing over here during our lifechanging retreats. So today I will summarize it for you in a very simple way.
Train the Mind 1: Upgrading your Mindset
Before we are moving on to fancy meditation techniques, we need to make sure that the practitioner approaches himself, life and spiritual practice with the right attitude. Too many people seem to be obsessed about the various techniques and tend to completely overlook themselves. Fact is that most people don’t like themselves in some way or another. It took me about 13 years to find out that I was meditating because I didn’t like the way I was and though I needed to change it. If a person that doesn’t like their own company tries to sit down quietly without any distraction it is doomed to fail – regardless of their fancy technique.
That’s the reason why we work on our mindset throughout the retreats. Instead of bullying ourselves into peaceful states we make sure that the one who doesn’t like him or herself becomes kind, optimistic and benevolent first. You can call this part of spiritual practice: “Creating a Proper Vessel for Meditation Practice”. Besides – this part of the practice will help you to deal with difficult situations in life. If our mind is well equipped with powerful qualities, we are able to surf life instead of drowning in it.
Train the Mind 2: Cultivating Profound Happiness
When your mindset is working for and not against you it’s going to be much easier to achieve deeper levels of Meditation. As long as we are still stuck in limiting beliefs and harmful self-images, ill-will or doubts it is impossible to truly enjoy your own company. And this is what the deeper levels of Meditation are all about. We will learn how to go deeper into states of stillness in order to recharge and empower the mind. A mind well recharged is a mind experiencing heaps of joy and pleasure all the way up to unimaginable bliss.
We all know that life flows much easier when we feel really good. So that’s the part where we train precisely how to feel really good and empower the mind with stability and bliss. Once the knower is stable and calm, we can use it to go deeper into the practice. And remember that the whole path is there to help you go from low-level pleasures towards ever deeper states of happiness, release and bliss. You could also rephrase that and say that the entire path is about finding the complete end of suffering within.
Train the Mind 3: Release from Suffering
Cultivating happiness, kindness and other uplifting quality greatly enhances your life. There’s no doubt about the mind conditioning the way we act in, re-act to and experience life. So if you train your mind well, your experience of life is going to be so much better! However, there’s one more stage of practice. We also need to learn how to let go of suffering or stress to complete the path.
We all experience trouble at some point. There’s nobody experiencing a life devoid of problems. We all experience them continuously. Whether it’s physical pain, mental confusion, emotional distress, panic attacks or problems with other beings. It would all help us heaps to be able to let go of stress. Whether it’s about letting go of subtle tension or big suffering – we would all benefit from finding a true and unshakeable refuge within our heart. So in this third stage of the practice we will learn how to release suffering and find true peace within.