Principles of Mind
If you are willing to abandon your principles for convenience or social acceptability they are not your principles they are your costume. - Unknown
Here’s an easily overlooked area of mental training. By “principles” I’m not referring to your views on immigration and abortion – that’s politics. I’m not even necessarily talking about giving to charity. What I’m talking about is how do you treat your waiter or Uber driver. Are you honest with yourself and others? Does your livelihood exploit people or make their lives better?
Our society often shies away from discussions of values and morality because that belongs to the “religious sphere.” But deep down, everyone knows what’s right (and even if you don’t in a particular situation, then it’s the motivation or intention that matters). And when you go against those implicit inner principles, you know you’ve done something wrong and must carry that burden around.
Then, when you sit down to meditate, that behavior will likely come back up in some form. There’s a reason that eastern traditions stressed values so heavily when training the mind, and it wasn’t because of belief in an afterlife. Immoral behavior creates a restless mind – just watch for yourself. When your mind is racing a million miles an hour the thoughts are often driven by lust, fear, greed, jealousy, etc.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you need to become Mother Theresa to advance in meditation, but by taking an honest look inside at your motivations and stripping away the behaviors driven by negative primal desires, selfishly your mental training will become easier. You might find your inner and outer worlds easier places to inhabit.