Exercise 9-12: Mental formations & Consciousness
(11-12): Concentration and Liberation
Exercise 11-12 are the Exercise to look deeply the mental formation, attain insight and understand the root cause, generate compassion and transform the mental formation by the energy of compassion. We generate the energy of concentration by looking deeply, we attain the insight (understanding) of the root cause by the energy of concentration, we generate compassion by the energy of insight, and we transform the mental formation such as fear and anxiety by the energy of compassion. Transforming our mental formations is liberating our mind. In other words, the insight (understanding) of the root cause which we attain in Exercise 11 corresponds to the second truth (cause of suffering) of the Four Noble Truths. And the transformation of mental formations which we attain in Exercise 12 corresponds to the third truth (secession of suffering) of the Four Noble Truths.
Afflictions such as fear and anxiety are the cause of suffering. Therefore, as long as you have fear or anxiety, you can not accept yourself unconditionally. Sometimes you may have self-hatred. If you always think too much and if your mind wanders in the past, you suffer from regrets and sorrow, and if your mind wanders in the future, you suffer from fear and anxiety. This vicious circle can not be cut off unless you understand the root cause of suffering through insight. If it can not be cut off, even if you can temporarily stop thinking and become mindful by conscious breathing, you will resume thinking by some chance and return to the state of forgetfulness.
Therefore, in order to stop thinking stably and keep the mindful state for a long time, it is absolutely essential to understand the root cause of suffering through insight. Of course, because the extinction of all notions is not attained yet, thoughts will revive once in a while. That's why real practitioners meditate everyday (Thich Nhat Hanh says that he is meditating 24 hours a day) and never neglect the practice to maintain the mindful state. In order to completely stop thinking 24 hours a day (to be always mindful), attaining full enlightenment through the extinction of all notions is the only way.
(to be continued)