The way of developing meditation is not a straightforward, cut and dried process. Each person must find their own way, which means you must be resourceful, and even, to some extent, inventive in choosing meditation techniques. If you encounter a hindrance with no prescribed method to circumvent it, you will have to rely on wisdom to devise a method on the spot. You can’t depend only on what the books say. The books are just the bare bones. It’s your job to put the flesh on them.
When you have established a true refuge internally, attachment to everything else naturally disappears. The things you do wrong and the problems you create are all concerned with the mind flowing out into the world. It is as though the mind leaks into the world, causing all of its energy to escape. When you keep your attention inside and stop that leakage, you are always in the present and everything is just right.
It is also important to realize that inside your mind there is something that will tell you what is right, tell you what defilement is and tell you the right thing to do. That something is Dhamma. Once you realize it is there, you have to learn to recognize and listen to it. It never forces you, but there is something that will tell you what is correct, and it’s often where you don’t want to go.
You should learn to know that one very well, because it is an excellent guide. The more you can get to know the Dhamma, the more you have an internal teacher to guide you. You probably have an external teacher, and that is necessary; but finally, you must replace the external teacher with the internal one. When that has been accomplished, you no longer need to be with a teacher. You can practice on your own then. For that reason, you have to learn to recognize the internal teacher, and listen carefully to the teaching of the Dhamma.
By recognizing the internal teacher and listening carefully, you learn to distinguish between the kilesas and the Dhamma. In the end, you find that the kilesas are, in fact, yourself. The kilesas are the ones in charge of everything you do—all of your thoughts, speech and actions. And the Dhamma seems to be separate, something other, something which points the way. You must learn to recognize the Dhamma, which gives a feeling of being something outside yourself. You must come to realize that, while everything else is false, the Dhamma is real. Your task is to get rid of the false things that are the kilesas, so that only the Dhamma is left.
This reflection by Ajahn Pannavaddho is from the book, Uncommon Wisdom, pp. 143-144.