The Fourth Mind Changing

The fourth and last of the Mind Changings is an insight that arises out of reflections on the first three. Since we have recognized the preciousness of this fleeting life that flows forth from causes and conditions, we now firmly concede to the innumerable disadvantages of wasting this gift of life on reactive, unconscious habits and meaningless distractions which keep us from feeling connected, like being spun around in the washing machine (to be thrust round and round blindly by life is called Samsara, remember?). So, this mind changing is an opportunity for reflecting on the impediments of living without awareness, and all the suffering involved.

The Four Mind Changings together catalyze a wholehearted resolve to wake up out of samsara, into Nirvana. Nirvana is described as the absence of greed, hatred and delusion (reactive habits of mind) and instead, living with Awareness. Contemplated together, they help to re-inspire our commitment to develop and discover pristine awareness, our natural ground of being. These four thoughts are encouraged as conscious placements of mind first thing when we awaken in the morning, and before we practice, as they can help align the heart/mind with insight and inspiration for intentional living, as well as for wisdom and compassion to flourish within us.

Buddha hand

Recite the Four Mind Changings together and then sit in a brief Meditation. Take a few moments after to reflect on how you feel after this, versus before.

  1. Life is precious — I am extremely fortunate to have the privilege and leisure to learn and practice.
  2. Everything is Impermanent — this ephemeral existence is not to be wasted. Everyone who is born will die. My death is certain. The exact time is unknown. Knowing this, what is most important?
  3. Karmic Consequences — the results of my virtuous and harmful actions are inevitable.
  4. Suffering ensues when I do not recognize my boundless nature.

Now is a good time to practice Mindfulness of breathing with the emphasis on stability of attention. Set your timer for 6 minutes and sit in a comfortable cross legged position. Deeply relax all turbulence of the mind on the out breath and feel into the space of your body. Settle your attention on the abdomen, aware of the natural rising and falling of each breath. Every time your mind wanders, relax even more on the out breath, and commit to being present for the next in breath, seeing if you can feel these moments directly without drifting off, or indulging in commentary. When habitual attention takes over, no problem, just notice excitation and relax again into the belly, or, in the case of laxity, sharpen your interest in being present at the onset of the next in breath, and let your eyes be a bit open when you get dull.

Enjoy being breathed!!!