The watcher of the mind masters it.
The wanderer of the mind is enslaved by it.
If our real stories are considered to be a waste of time in meditation, then a fantasy must be an even bigger waste of time. It is generally much harder for meditation students to tolerate having a fantasy in their meditation sittings than a reimagining of an actual past event. I generally prefer not to use the word fantasy when talking about imagined scenarios occurring within meditation sittings, for fantasies are looked down on by most meditation traditions.
In Western psychology, there is a history of looking at our fantasy lives and seeing what they can reveal about us, whether they are based on true events or imagined ones. Our imaginings are sometimes the very stories that perpetuate dissatisfaction with ourselves and others, being the burden that we carry with us. They are used to base our hopes and dreams on, and often, when unexamined, our concocted scenarios of the future are what we tend to follow. They can’t just be eliminated by trying to stop our mind from going into the past and the future. Such stories are often too deeply embedded to be put to rest by finding some temporary way around them.
Meditation is a perfect place to sit with our stories and get to know them. They will come up often, so why not invite them in? With a growing tolerance of them and patience with the process of being with them, we may find it is not such a disagreeable way to spend part of a meditation sitting after all. It is quite possible, with the added quality of sincere interest in them, that we will find exploring them to be a valuable practice. [TDEditor’s comments: Unless it is Vipassana meditation where one simply watches one’s thoughts, to ‘explore’ one’s fantasies is to entertain stray thoughts, which digresses from the subject of meditation. Though some ‘insights’ might be derived from doing so, to overly indulge in fantasies while missing the original objective of meditation is to miss the point.]
Unlearning Meditation: What to Do When the Instructions Get in the Way
by Jason Siff
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