When practitioners are discerning their bodies, they are using their thoughts as the tools to scan and remind them about their bodies. When they are contemplating the impermanence of the body, they also have to rely on their thoughts to contemplate and reflect on that topic. When they observe their breaths or adjust their breaths in the 1-3-5 pattern, they also use thoughts to carry such task.
In the beginning, thoughts are important and appreciated because they are the tool that most people use to mediate. Thoughts are the great servants; however, it could quickly betray and drag ones’ attention far away from meditating if they are not mindful and aware enough. Sadly, the things that we trust and rely on are not always on our sides. After a long time diligently practicing the right methods, thoughts begin to appear less and the Awareness states start to appear. Only at this point, practitioners are less likely to be cheated and abducted by their own thoughts.
To continuously go further in a meditation journey and nurture that Awareness state, ones must always discern their bodies and let their awareness always stay and fit at their skins. Practitioners also have to contemplate on their bodies’ impermanence to reinforce their understandings; however, it is not something that they have to do very often. Lastly, as ones discern their bodies, breaths also become clear and observable. Hence, practitioners shall flexibly and calmly pay attention to both of their bodies and breaths. In addition, applying the 1-3-5 breathing pattern is also very beneficial that helps the mind to be calmer. Remember, the key to this breathing exercise is trying to inhale slightly and shortly while exhaling very slowly.
In the beginning, the main methods of meditation are Body and Breath Awareness. When the awareness state is present, practitioners should not pay much attention to it but simply put it aside and let it help them to see and discern the thoughts. Again, the most basic function of Awareness is to enable ones to discern their own thoughts. Without this awareness, people and their thoughts are one, and thoughts are the masters of the mind. When ones have this awareness within them, thoughts become the external parasites that need to be observed and eliminated.
When ones’ Awareness stage starts to be stronger, their practices are based on the three acknowledgments – Acknowledgement of the body, breaths, and thoughts’ processes (from start to end).
However, if ones are forcing themselves to pay attention to their thoughts and observing those thoughts, they will put a lot of stress and strains in their brains. That will ultimately create a lot of physical and mental health problems. Thus, the essential practices of meditation are still discerning the body and breaths. When practitioners do that thoroughly and carefully enough, their awareness states will become stronger, and they’re automatically able to discern and recognize their thoughts processes without much energy and force.
When the awareness states are strong enough, practitioners will start to destroy the Five Hindrances one by one.
The Greed Hindrance will be destroyed first, that makes practitioners become detached to any monetary or material matters in life. Money and power are no longer the things that they want and desire.
Next, the Ill-Will or Anger Hindrance will be gone, that makes practitioners able to remain calm and peaceful regardless of many adversities and obstacles in life. When the practitioners finish getting rid of the Greed and Ill-Will hindrances, their morality are pretty radiant and admirable.
Next, the Sloth-and-Torpor Hindrance will disappear, that makes the practitioners’ brains and cognitive energy become much stronger and powerful. With the very energetic minds, they are no longer feeling drowsy or sleepy. They can meditate for days without any sleeps and without a need to sleep. However, when they decide to sleep, they are still able to sleep very well.
When the Doubt hindrance is eradicated, practitioners will possess an extreme confidence on themselves. They clearly see that nothing in life, even dangers or death, could take away their peacefulness and mindfulness. Nothing in life could scare them anymore because the Awareness state that they have achieved is extremely powerful and stable. This confidence could become extreme and make them become somewhat reckless and careless in their behaviors.
Lastly, the Restlessly hindrance will be gone. Their bodies will become extremely firm and static from the inside. When meditating, their body is completely motionless and their mind is also totally static and silent. This is the requisite for them to enter the First Stage of Meditation in the Right Concentration stage.
Right then, if the practitioners also have enough good karma, especially from paying homage to Buddha, contemplate thoroughly enough on Selflessness and the impermanence of a body – they will also easily attain Sainthood in this stage. Attaining fruitions in both Meditation and Sainthood, ones will possess a great virtue and wisdom. They will be a great role models and teachers that many beings could rely and learn from.