Training your mind is like training yourself to master a sport. Part of the training is focused in the practice sessions, i.e. what you’re doing right here as you’re meditating or as you’re doing walking meditation–the skills you want to work on, because we are working on skills. We try to develop Right View, Right Resolve, all the way down through Right Concentration.
There’s Right Concentration and wrong concentration, just as there’s Right View and wrong view, Right Mindfulness and wrong mindfulness. The right and wrong here aren’t defined specifically by what works and what doesn’t work. When you’re meditating, certain things will work and other things won’t. You want to find out how to bring the mind to a sense of stillness, where there is a sense of ease in the stillness. The effort of the training is not all sweating, forcing yourself, and wearing yourself out. It’s learning how to train in a way that actually increases your energy, increases your strength. This is why we work on concentration, learning how to bring the mind to stillness.
A large part of that is learning how to talk with yourself as you meditate. When things are going well, how to encourage yourself. When things are not going well, how to encourage yourself to point out the fact that things are not going well, but at the same time, not to discourage yourself. When you’re encouraging yourself when things are going well, you have to learn how not to get complacent…
We’re doing these things because they work.
Learn how to look at what you’re doing. Learn how to read the results of what you’re doing, starting from the outside on in. In this way you have a complete training: the training that you do while you’re here in your practice sessions and the training when you’re out living the rest of your life. They all come together. They’re all training us to be adults: to learn to look at the mind and deal with the mind simply in terms of what’s working and what’s not working in putting an end to suffering, giving rise to the path that is right not because somebody said so but simply because it really does work.
This reflection by Ajaan Geoff is from the talk, Training Like an Adult, October 1, 2007.