Congratulations on starting to practice witnessing the mind.
The first stage is the “hardest” stage because you need to realize how to observe the mind correctly. When you are not clear and not confident, you will be confused.
The goal of observing the mind is to see how the mind works. That is to see the reactions of the mind, thoughts, theories, temptations, threats… in the mind and reactions in the emotions. This is something that people often misunderstand, thinking that the goal is to keep the mind quiet, so instead of being “happy” when discovering the trends of the mind, they find themselves struggling, annoyed, impatient.. when discovering “junk” programmings in their mind.
However, the impatient struggle, trying to intervene.. is also an inertia of the ego, so just see it all and smile. Congratulate yourself for accomplishing the first thing: to see some of the working mechanisms of your mind.
When you recognise that your mind has some false beliefs, and you don’t know what to do, it’s because it’s still not the time to do anything, and maybe there is not enough data to figure out what to do. When the right circumstances arise you will probably find yourself no longer acting blindly on false beliefs, or over time when you see enough data you will make the right decisions.
“I don’t know how to just sit and observe and perceive without clinging to them and do not act at all. Sitting still and observing the discomfort will eventually go away, but sometimes I still don’t sit still and still follow the thoughts”
Your question is legitimate, like a novice cyclist asking how to pedal without falling. The answer is that with more practice, you will get used to it and adjust your balance, the number of falls will be less.
It’s the same with calmly observing, because the inertia of acting according to the reaction has been too long, so at first, even though you can see that it is just an illusion, you are still so irritated by that illusion that you decide to react..
When this happens, the reactive action is also an object of observation, thus you continue to see the impact of that reaction and how it drives the situation.
That way you are learning both cause and effect of mental and action processes.
In your sanity, even if you are reactive, you will still see how you are doing wrongly or rightly and monitor its cause and effect. Unlike before when you were completely ignorant of each and every actions that you do and its consequences.
Every process you are going through is precious to observe. If you observe enough, you will realise. If you realise enough, you will be able to self-regulate your behavior.
Why is seeing how the mind works the ultimate way to purify yourself? Because if you just suppress the mind so that it has to be “quiet” by some trick, it is only a temporary supperficial calmness in the style of rote learning, coercion, imitation, or pretense.
But when one becomes refined and understands the programming by observing the mind, one will no longer be deceived and pulled by them. Only then will you really know what you are doing, what programmings you are letting go, and why.. without having to look ahead and look behind to imitate anyone. You are a torch that lights itself.
Only then your letting go of wrong attitudes and behaviors.. becomes natural, self-controlled, sure and thorough.
Phan Y Ly