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Why Purification Meditation? and Why it is the key to inner peace and understanding of truths?

There are various methods and techniques for meditation that you can find available in today’s world, though they all come down to two main types of meditation: 

The first (and most popular) type is Calming Meditation: often uses the techniques of focusing the mind upon one single object such as sounds (noises in the surroundings, background music, the sound of chimes/bells or a singing bowl,...), images (a candle, a Buddha statue, a picture of God/Goddess/mythic characters, or mental objects of visualisations), breaths, sensations/movements of the body, mantras, or affirmations. Calming Meditation is often employed in mindfulness practice, different meditation practices, and also widely practised by busy modern people as it helps reduce stress, balance out extreme emotions, improve the quality of clear thinking and concentration, promote present moment awareness and creativity, etc.

Less stress, less extreme emotions, more positive thinking, becoming more mindful or more effective/productive at work, etc., definitely makes life easier, calmer, and more well managed. Though, these benefits are just like the effects of painkillers or health supplements that help reduce the symptoms on the surface of the pain, or strengthen our faculties and help us be able to get on with our daily activities more effectively for a bit longer, whilst the real causes of the pain or the health conditions are not dealt with properly. This is why even successful people, people who have everything - all things - in order in their life, even meditators and mindfulness practitioners quite often still hit their limits and have down time due to sadness, loneliness, disappointment, frustration, and even depression. This is due to the fact that deep down there is still an unfulfilled yearning to become truly free and be at peace within ones own existence and to find out the answers for our fundamental existential queries: ‘Who am I? Why am I here? Why is the world such a place of endless issues and suffering? What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of my existence?...’

To be truly free of pain or a health condition in our body (bodily suffering), painkillers or health supplements are not sufficient for the cure, just a short term relief or some limited effectiveness, we need to change the whole diet and the way we have been treating and utilising our own body, to restore it to the natural and healthy state before any issue happens. Similarly, to be truly free of pain or a health condition in our mind (mental suffering), we need to decondition/reverse the whole belief system in our mind that makes up the way we think and interpret everything in life, to restore the mind to the pure and healthy state before any suffering happens. 

This is where the second type of meditation can become helpful. This type is Purification Meditation or Insight Meditation in which apart from using the techniques of Calming Meditation for calming the mind, we make conscious intent and use Purification methods and techniques to train our own mind to observe, understand, and detach itself from thoughts patterns and the belief systems that lead to how we think, feel, react, and suffer. By doing so the mind is gradually purified and restored to its pure state, we then have that very same mind (but purified) as our best ally that keeps us conscious and be able to make new choices in each moment (during meditation and outside of meditation - in our everyday lives). By purifying the mind, we are then able to break free and rise beyond the patterns of thoughts and behaviours that have been causing us suffering, and glimpse the truths that lie beyond the ego-consciousness

This type of meditation is often practised by truth seekers (self-awareness/ self-realization seekers), and those who seek complete freedom from the suffering of the mind such as depression, anxiety, addiction/obsession, fears/phobia, deep down disappointment/unhappiness, and existential dissatisfaction (feeling meaningless and without purpose).

Why purifying the mind is the key to inner peace and understanding of truths?

As human beings, we are gifted/equipped with a special instrument - a necessary faculty that makes it possible for us to perceive and respond to everyday events and life experiences. That instrument is our own mind. Without the mind, we would have no ideas, definitions, directions, thoughts, fears, memory or speculation, and no emotion about anything! Without the mind, it is not possible for us to suffer from anything, as we cannot even perceive anything like sadness, pains, dissatisfaction, or disappointment. 

Though obviously, we cannot live or function in human society without a mind. So the question is not how to get rid of the mind so that we do not have to suffer in life, but rather, how to get the mind out of suffering and use it as an ally that helps us find peace and freedom? And how is it even possible such a mind can help you with that?

When we are born into this world, there are no such things as perceptions, judgements or preconceived notions encoded in any child’s mind at birth. Regardless of the circumstances in which the baby is born into, regardless of any event that happens around that early time of its new life, no matter how good or bad, how horrible or wonderful, how warmhearted or cold the parents or the people around it can be, the child herself/himself is inherently pure and joyful.

From such state of innocence and pure joy, like pure white sheets of paper, we were gradually taught and commanded by our parents, teachers, people in the communities, and pressured to conform by society as a whole, to accept and follow the familial and societal definitions, perceptions, conditions, and beliefs of what is: right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t, lovable/unlovable, like/dislike, beautiful/ugly, acceptable/unacceptable, polite/impolite, real/surreal, possible/impossible, etc. So, from very early on, our ‘white sheet of paper’ has started being painted with so many layers of different colours. And whilst growing up, we also keep adding onto and constantly adjusting our sets of values to adapt into and be accepted by new environments or people who we meet along the way.

We inevitably experience tensions and unsettling feelings in our daily interactions with other people around us, and/or our own restlessness or inner conflict within, as in every moment of our life, we constantly analyse and evaluate things, events, and people, including ourselves, based on our current set of values. As soon as we find something or someone that does not match our definitions and expectations of "how things and people should be”, we feel threatened as our ideal world model (the ideal world in which our Ego feels most safe and can be most right) is being threatened. We therefore become restless, stressed, anxious, disappointed, even upset and obsessed about those things that do not fit our ideals of how things and people should be. As we cannot accept the way things and people are, we constantly want to change them into ways that we think are best, or modify ourselves to fit in and be accepted IF we see that their way of being is agreed upon by more people or the majority of society to be better or more socially acceptable/preferable than ours.

The reason why we cannot find inner peace or get out of endless suffering when things and people do not fit in our ideals is similar to the reason why we cannot detach ourselves from feeling distressed in a nightmare at night.

In our dreams every night, we experience that dreamworld as if it is real, we also have thoughts and even feel intense emotions in our dreams, but are completely unaware that we are dreaming. Similarly, when being lost in thoughts during waking life, we think endless thoughts (in fact, random thoughts take control of our thinking), and we experience all sorts of disturbing emotions coming along with thoughts (either comparing, evaluating, judging other people and events, and/or judging ourselves), without realising that we get totally lost in our own mental world - another world of the dreaming state - with no conscious choice on our part! 

That is how most of us have been living our lives!

We live in thoughts in every second of our waking life. We have been mistaking our own thoughts and our own judgements/interpretations of things to be reality.

We in fact have been seeing just a distorted version of things through the lense of our own ‘tinted’/conditioned mind, and we live our whole lives in this self-interpreted version of reality. This version of reality only exists and makes sense specifically to us given our own mind’s perspectives and conditionings.

Purifying the mind is the work that helps undo and remove the layers of these belief systems, deconstruct the ideal world model - our own mental construction of how everything should be, including ourselves - that we have built up and live in throughout our lives. By purifying the mind, we remove the ‘paints’ that cover up our ‘white sheet of paper’ layer by layer, to retrieve our zen mind/beginers’ minds - our original state of pure joy, clarity, livelihood, and authentic state of being that we were born with.   

When the mind is purified from all the layers of ‘paint’/‘tinted colours’, we become awake and conscious instead of marching through life as unconscious/asleep wanderers. We see things, people, and ourselves as how they really are, instead of assuming our distorted visions and interpretations to be the ultimate reality. This is when we can truly be at peace as we experience the pure state of being, which is full of joy, life, beauty, love and perfection as how we once experienced it in our early childhood as innocent and unconditionally happy beings.



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