Understanding is the key to learning success, resolving conflicts, forgiving and peace. The
objective of Mindfulness practice is to develop the wisdom to understand things as they are,
according to nature, allowing the mind to let go.
Most of us try to understand situations, people, or what happened in the past so that we can
put stress and misunderstanding to rest. We may understand why others did what they did and
be able to forgive and forget for a while. But if we neglect the understanding of our mind,
forgiving and forgetting are only in our heads, not necessarily in our hearts. Anger soon
resurfaces when similar upsetting incidents recur.
The mind continues to suffer. It keeps dwelling on past incidents, thus fuelling and
prolonging the hurt for longer. Our head understands that letting go is good for us: it reduces
stress, allowing us to have peace. However, cognitive understanding alone is not enough to
cut the ties from past pain. Nor for letting go to really blossom forth. We need to work on the
mind when it feels angry, anxious, or sad.
Living in the present moment doesn’t merely mean enjoying life in the here and now; it also
involves living with whatever arises and using it to train the mind to understand. That anger
or sadness starts like this, continues like this, and ceases like this. We need to train the mind
to observe and be mindful of what it is doing, thinking, and feeling until it can see that
thoughts, feelings, and emotions come and go of their own accord. They are not us, not ours,
so the mind will stop clinging to them.
Nobody likes stress. We tend to switch our attention to other activities so we can forget stress
temporarily, only to find that stressful thoughts return when we are about to go to sleep.
Hence sleeplessness. When we finally fall asleep, we may have a nightmare about them. As
soon as we wake up, those stressful thoughts return, whether we want them or not. We may
look back and try to understand stress afterwards. Many people do. If we wait for the dust to
settle, what is there for the mind to observe? It will be too late. What we get is cognitive
understanding. When there is stress, the mind trembles. It tries to think itself out of the
problem but ends up drowning in thoughts and confusion. It can’t find the way out.
We may understand how to do a lot of things from reading and listening, but if we don’t put it
to the test or learn from experience, we are still a long way away from real understanding.
Understanding is the key to living with the stresses and strains of life. Observing, and
learning from stress in the moment of its occurring. Success doesn’t come overnight. This
understanding takes time to sink in. Next time we experience stress, let’s take the opportunity
to learn from it and be patient with it. We will be able to live with whatever life is throwing at
us. Only the mind that truly understands can have peace.