I would like to question the validity of everything
(from one of my favorite passages of all time, anywhere)
Instead of trying to discipline the mind, bring it back forcibly and try to focus it on a point, why not be more friendly with the mind, and find out what it wants, why it wants, and where are the roots of the conflicting urges? You know, concentration and discipline have been the age old ways trodden by thousands and thousands. I am not questioning their integrity, the seekers, who were born through those centuries—I am not trying to criticize them.
But, being a religious person, I would like to question the validity of everything, and discover the meaning of everything for myself. That is the essence of religion, which is humility. Not to accept anything unless you understand the meaning there of, personally in your life. If you accept without understanding, you will be imposing upon the mind. And then you are neither true to the mind, nor true to the meaning. The essence of religion, which is humility, lies in uncovering the meaning of life, uncovering the meaning of every moment, learning the meaning of life for ourselves.
And therefore I say: why should discipline be necessary if we are friendly with our mind? Perhaps if we are friendly with the mind, if we watch the mind, if we understand the mind, if we let it wander, let it roam about wherever it wants, let it exhaust its momentum by wandering, without scolding, without praising, without condemning, it might exhaust its momentum and arrive at the simple, innocent silence. I would prefer understanding the mind, rather than disciplining the mind.
That understanding might create its own discipline, that is quite different. Understanding of mind awakens a new quality of attention, all inclusive attention, in which I am aware of the stimulus in the objective world; I am aware of the sensation it carries to the brain; I am aware of the brain cells getting tickled and stimulated, trying to interpret and translate the sensation according to its conditioning; I am aware of the nature of my reactions, how I am responding to that.
This awareness of the so called outward and the inward movement of life is meditation. The simultaneous awareness of the total movement is meditation. If I am aware of the nature of my reactions, and movement of my reactions, naturally that awareness will result in freedom from the reaction. I cannot stop the reaction, because the reactions have been rooted in the subconscious, in the unconscious. I cannot prevent, I cannot renounce, I cannot check them. But if I am aware, simultaneously of the objective challenge, the subjective reactions and the causes of these reactions, then it results in freedom. Then the momentum of reaction will not carry me over with it, but I will be ahead of the reactions. I will not be a victim of my reactions, but I will see them as I see the objective challenge. That for me is meditation. All inclusive attention while moving in life.
—Vimala Thakar, Mutation of Mind (pp. 121-122)