Why we are asked to feel sensations in the body and of the breath? Why we use mantra in meditation/ mindfulness? What contemplation and reflection on first six steps of noble path do in the path of mindfulness? Masters have answered the above questions differently but with one goal in mind – allow the mind to move within, live within and awaken within.
Astavakra, the great master gave a beautiful answer to his disciple king, Janaka.
वैराग्य च कथंप्राप्तमेतदब्रूहिमम प्रभो॥1.1॥
Janaka, the seeker asks: How is knowledge to be acquired? How is liberation to be attained? And how is dispassion to be reached? Tell me this, sir.
Mindfulness leads to knowledge (of our true nature), the knowledge of self leads to awakening. It happens when mind moves from distractions (self-created world) to dispassion (right perception).
Every master waits for seeker to ask the right question that will lead him to awakening. A student in school answers questions and pass the examination. a stranger asks a question to seek information. But when a seeker asks a question about mindfulness, he is ready and qualify on the path. His questions centers around knowing his true nature.
The real seeker asks how the knowledge of real-self can be attained? How to attain freedom from suffering? How the dispassion is to be attained (so that illusion and delusion can be dropped)?
When we are not the seeker, we engage in a fruitless arguments about mindfulness. We create a habit to focus on breath and sensation. We spend too much time in things outside i.e. good studio, fragrance, good clothes, and many things more to succeed in mindfulness. They are all necessary in the beginning but not essential.
We may create a golden space to meditate or go to the Himalayas for living in solitude, nothing helps. We may wear golden beads or expensive clothes to meditate, it is wastage. We may Google thousands of pages or practice with hundreds of masters; nothing will ever help us succeed. The above four questions should always be in the mind then only other external things and factors can work.
क्षमार्जवदयातोष, सत्यं पीयूषवद्भज॥1.2॥
Ashtavakra, the master answers – If you aspire to attain awakening (practice mindfulness), give up the passions (desires for sense objects) as poison. Practice (work on the mind) forgiveness, simplicity, compassion, contentment, and truth as nectar.
The mind needs to be disciplined and educated before we succeed in mindfulness. all four qualities of mind – forgiveness, simplicity, compassion, and contentment clear the impurity of mind. They all help the mind to start moving within, leaving the objective reality.
The master continues to answer -If the seeker allows the mind to separate from the body and rest within (right perception to witness that the body is not the true nature), then even now one awakens to peace and happiness. The seeker frees oneself from suffering.
This verse explains what happens to the mind in the journey of mindfulness. When we are comfortable, mind lives in higher awareness. It becomes deeply aware of the body and discovers that he is not the body but possess the body. When we possess anything, we can easily separate the possession (body) from the possessor (real-self). All distractions are caused due to identification of mind with the body. The identification creates a wrong perception that we are the body which is not true. Mindfulness is not a practice to control the mind from cravings but release of them, because now mind is not interested in distractions. This mind naturally lives within, free from objects from outside. The objectless state is attained. This mind need not to any effort, it is natural and lives within, enjoys within and awakens within. This is mindfulness.