Why the Four Thoughts kick ass!
January 24, 2019
Meditation is to leave the mind just as it is, relaxed and easy, without thinking too much. But we find this incredibly difficult to do. As soon as we sit down and relax, we feel we have a bit of free time and start thinking and making plans. It is for this reason that when we start meditating we use a meditation support to help the mind settle and stop wandering.
But even this initial step of using a support is very difficult for us. Because, as things are for us at the moment, the things of the world are so real and appealing; our mind is constantly drawn to them. And this happens so habitually that we’re not able to overcome it by using a meditation support alone. That’s why we need the preliminary practices.
The preliminaries are the four thoughts*. With these practices we look into things such as our life and situation in cyclic existence. We examine, asking ourselves; is such an existence pleasurable or one of suffering? Is it problematic or simple? Do things happen randomly or orderly? Are things stable or fleeting?” If we analyse a lot we come to see that the things of this world have no real essence, nothing lasts and can be counted on. As we start to see through and become disillusioned with the things we were previously attracted to, the mind just naturally stops being drawn towards them.
So for us at the moment, concentrating on the four thoughts not only brings the same results as using a meditation support, it is actually a far more effective method to stop our mind wandering here, there and everywhere.
*The four thoughts are four areas of contemplation: 1. The preciousness of human life. 2. Impermanence and death, 3. Causality (the workings of cause and effect – karma). 4 The sufferings of cyclic existence.