Silent Watcher – Observational meditation and suspended judgement

This is not meant as an extensive guide or commentary but more looking at the basic concepts of this incredible meditation for people anyone who enjoys this meditation in particular.

One of the main problems in modern thinking is ‘the need to be right’. One learns to apply judgement at an early stage in development. We are taught early on step by step to be correct and logical so our thinking habits are geared towards getting things right, believing our thinking to be true and logically coherent. “This is the right way to do this and that, this is  how you should behave” etc. The thing here though is there tends to be an arrogant view that assumes this type of thinking is ok. Judging at every stage without freedom or clarity of mind to be creative in problem solving or having the space to see things in a completely different perspective.

In thinking, judgement may be applied at any of the following stages:

  • Relevance – are these types of thought relevant?
  • Validity – are my ideas thought valid? Are they true?
  • Correctness – is it right?
  • Other people’s comments/views – do I accept or reject? Evaluation & criticism are similar.

Judgement is quite a single-pointed mind, decisive, usually partially unobserved but very necessary since sometimes there is a time of needing to judge instantly and use common sense, not being impotent by wanting to observe things. But when uncontrolled and awareness lacks in the view of ‘the bigger picture’, sometimes judgement can lead  us into a lot of trouble and many negative outcomes and inevitable grasping at limited closed-minded thinking.

For example, we may think that voice in our head telling us we should lie to someone about stealing is ok. Perhaps, we are so busy judging what is true in reality that we actually miss out on the fun of life. Maybe we spend too much time arguing with others in our mind because we are right and they are clearly wrong. Or maybe we spend time guessing what people are thinking and judge from this that they dislike us.

What follows from this is a learned habit of judging things too soon before observation can actually have a spacious effect in our mind to expand our consciousness to seeing things in a more universal way considering multiple viewpoints. Of course ideally a type of quick wisdom needs to develop and this comes from understanding our own thinking and how judgemental and somewhat arrogant our thinking really is. Arrogance meaning not considering other points of view/meanings/believing everything that comes into our consciousness without question etc.

How to delay/suspend judgement before meditation:

  1. Intention: one does not rush to judge, evaluate or analyze, simply become aware of what appears to mind. Sensations, thoughts, different objects etc.
  2. One does not consider judgement as the most important part of thinking at the present time. The only decision should be to accept what appears, without getting involved, just watch.
  3. One considers the possibility that other types of thinking will allow for greater clarity. What is required is spacious awareness of gross conceptual thought without involvement. This grows into an understanding of the real nature of the mind: clarity and cognizing.
  4. One understands that RELEASING a tight grip on the gross conceptual thoughts that appear will bring spaciousness for real insight to grow – Detaching from the tangled web of conceptual thoughts.
  5. When judgement and analysis of certain objects appear, (this is good, this is bad, I love this, I can’t wait for my tea etc) shift focus from being caught in the story line, argument, interesting conversation, reaction – these are distractions. You can analyse it or reflect on it AFTER meditation and decide/judge what is USEFUL at that time.
  6. All negativity arises from mistaken discriminations: we can judge constructively, friends as friends or negatively, enemies as enemies. Everything that appears to mind can be given a label. Choose not to slap labels on things, just watch. Even strong emotions have a name but don’t be concerned with which one you see or if you know what it is, just observe.
  7. Stop judging not stop thinking: You will be thinking many things, this is fine just watch. But if you get too caught up/involved in thinking then it sometimes helps to actively observe elsewhere such as the sensations of the body. These two techniques of watching both bodily sensations/thoughts can be alternated to the degree that you do not become too involved in either, you just watch. This is the essential point.
  8. Life will be waiting for you after meditation.

Silent Watcher in meditation: How to practice –  Just be:

  • Acceptance  – of what appears without involvement
  • Observation – in the vast spaciousness of the mind
  • Awareness – without boundaries

 

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