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Mindfulness and Insight on the Internet

Bikkhu Suwattano

This text may be freely reproduced and distributed, and this statement may be taken as sufficient permission to do so. June 1996 by True Freedom Cyber-Temple.

When we are being truly mindful we pay attention to everything we do, and we invite insight by also paying attention to why we do these things (our intent or motivation). It is this intent which creates what we refer to as "karma", or that which conditions. If our intent is motivated by greed (craving, clinging, aversion, wanting), ill-will, fear, or merely because of something someone says (folly), then we are creating karma.

When we begin to cultivate mindfulness it is enough to just pay attention to our movements... When we move our pointer to a place on the screen, we know we are moving it - we can say to ourselves "moving". When we click on a link or a function on our monitor screen, we know we are clicking - we can say to ourselves "clicking". When we look at something on the screen, we know we are looking - we can think "looking". Now, this "moving", "clicking", "looking", and so on, should not be in a past-tense form such as we begin moving and then think "moving" and then when we have stopped "stopped moving", but instead more like "beginning to move... moving... stopping". In this way we learn to pay attention and know what we are doing, instead of only knowing what we have already done. This gives us the opportunity to choose and control our actions, instead of merely reacting as animals do.

After we have practiced mindfulness for a while we can then further invite insight by noticing the intent behind the action... such as "intending to move... moving... intending to stop... stopping" and "intending to click... clicking... intending to release the mouse button... releasing", and so on. After a little practice with this we can just pay attention to the intent... doing... intent... doing... intent... doing, and so forth on and on. It is also good to understand from the outset that all this takes a great deal of concentration, but the more we practice the more natural it becomes for us to maintain our concentration... we are breaking a mental habit we have had for a long time, and like any habit (addiction), it takes some time before we are fully in control of it.

Now at this point we will have moved from merely doing things, to knowing what we are doing, to seeing the intent as we do things... Now the next step is to pay attention to what motivates our intent to do something. We may of had some flashes of our motivations when we were only concentrating on seeing that there was intent, but now as soon as we notice an intent we pause for a second to see if we can see the underlying motivation. If we see it great, if we don't that is fine also. As we continue to practice in this way our motivations will become more and more noticeable. Where as the average person rarely knows more than what they do, not even what they are doing while they are doing it; we will be able to know what we are doing, our intention, and even the motivation behind the intent, or HOW THE MIND ACTUALLY WORKS! As we do this we will find that there really isn't any permanent "self" to be found in this mental activity of motivations, intentions, and actions... although we formerly ran around behaving as if these mere mental processes were an "us". And at some point along the way we must of noticed that while all this was going on that there was something else that was watching these mental processes while they were taking place...

Note: This 'something else' is what I refer to as "Being Only the Heart"; so when you happen to see "please, take care of your heart..." as you look around this Cyber-Temple, perhaps you will have a clearer understanding.

Source: Cyber-Temple, http://www.diac.com/~suwatt/index.html