The mind is very powerful but most of the time we don’t use it to its fullest capacity. For example, our minds jump from topic to topic without any considered or meaningful order. The more disciplined among us arrange our lives in such a way that we get more out of our mental energy but these kinds of arrangements don’t really get to the heart of the matter.
If we want to fully unlock the untapped power of the mind we need to train it to stay with one particular object for a very long time, not just for a few hours here and there. The trouble with this is that our lives are too complicated to choose only one object. We each have myriad different tasks and duties to perform both in our professional and personal lives. How can we possibly select one object to focus on? The solution the Buddha devised to this problem is astonishingly simple.
The Buddha realized that, training requires that we first observe to determine the strengths of the trainee. In this case, we are training the mind. If the nature of the mind is to jump from one object to another, is there a way that we can harness that energy for a useful purpose? Thankfully, there is. We make this very quality of the mind our meditation object. This can be achieved by simply being aware of the most dominant condition of the mind at any given moment. When the condition changes, we allow our awareness to change as well so that whatever is happening we are always aware of it in that present moment. When our awareness strays to the past or the future, we gently bring it back to the present.
When we make the present moment the object of our meditation, we find that it is possible to have our attention stilled. We still the mind in present moment awareness. Now, when we are grounded in present moment awareness, we can finally harness the power of the mind towards a useful purpose, namely, penetrating wisdom into the true nature of reality. This wisdom, once attained sets us on an unstoppable path towards freedom from mental slavery and suffering caused by greed, anger and delusion. In other words, present moment awareness sets us on a certain path to real happiness.