In a previous post, I gave my basic vision of mindfulness meditation as being like an archeological dig. We start with the fundamentals, stabilizing present moment awareness with the right attitude.
However, an archeological dig is not about digging for the sake of digging. Neither is mindfulness meditation about being aware for the sake of being aware. Rather, it’s about using awareness to dive into the depths of mind, and uncover insight and wisdom.
This is why “mindfulness meditation” is used synonymously with “insight meditation.”
I will now begin a six part series that breaks down wisdom, insight and truth in the world of mindfulness meditation! For starters:
What is Wisdom?
Wisdom means deeply knowing or understanding the truth.
Consider a wise community elder. They simply “get things” on a level deeper than the rest of us.
For example, an elder might have a profound understanding that people are more important than possessions, status or power. When they have this wisdom, their priorities and life choices become much more obvious, intuitive and effortless. When sacrificing self-interest for the sake of others, they have almost zero inner conflict or tension.
Ultimately, wisdom comes through experience. This is why older people are usually wiser than younger people. But this isn’t always the case. Wisdom doesn’t have to come randomly over the decades.
Rather, when we learn the mechanics of how wisdom develops, we can actually do things to greatly expedite the process.
To give a general example of this process, let’s first rewind the life of our elder.
In their 30’s, they largely let go of community and intimate friendship, got really into work, and eventually became very successful. However, they were equally unhappy.
After spending a few years in mild depression and social isolation, they suddenly switched gears and started developing deeper, more vulnerable connections. Somewhere in this process, they “deeply realized” that focusing on connection was way-more-happiness-producing.
In other words, they had years of experience that culminated in an “insight,” which gave them an enduring wisdom about how to best live.
What does this have to do with Meditation?
Those years of experience culminated in an insight likely due to the intense pain (of depression/isolation), and a longing to be truly happy. When we have intense pain, longing or other emotions, it usually leads to wisdom at some point (we can only run from ourselves for so long).
However, that’s assuming ordinary, “autopilot consciousness.”
In contrast, mindfulness takes us out of autopilot, cuts through the noise, and brings us lucidly into the present. As a result, instead of experiences needing to get intense and overwhelming to gain lessons, mindfulness helps us have powerful insights from even the subtlest emotions, feelings or experiences.
More concisely, mindfulness offers us the inner spaciousness and depth of noticing that allows for insight to come years ahead of schedule.
Ultimately, mindfulness meditation isn’t directing us towards any random insight. Instead, it’s honing in on three specific insights that directly lead to profound inner freedom, to feeling totally at peace inside ourselves all the time, no matter what is happening.
Interested in a calmer mind? A life more in alignment? A sense of ease and effortless? A deeper immersion into love and compassion? Anything else? Consider the flow chart:
Meditation —> Insight (into truth) —> Wisdom (of truth) —> Inner Freedom —> calmness, alignment, ease, love, compassion, sincerity —> meditation —> etc.
The more we release into the meditative path, the more we into into the stream of harmony, freedom and love.
Stay tuned for the rest of the series:
- Introducing Insight and Wisdom in Mindfulness Meditation (Part 1)
- How to Measure the Strength of an Insight (Part 2)
- The Difference between “Psychological” and “Meditative” Insight (Part 3)
- The Three Core Insights of Mindfulness Meditation (Part 4)
- How to Attain Wisdom & Insight in Three Steps (Part 5)
- Six Important Things to Know after a Major Insight (Part 6)