Observe the Incomprehensible

Reference: The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness

Mindfulness provides the discipline for looking and contemplation.

You may do this exercise while sipping coffee in a café, or strolling along a river. You may even find a place where you can sit comfortably for a while without being disturbed. Then patiently observe the world go by.

If something does not make sense, then recognize that it does not make sense. Do not try to justify it. Justification simply puts the blame somewhere without resolving the inconsistency. When you are faced with an inconsistency, and you feel an impulse to explain it away, then be alert to what you might be taking for granted. At times it may take some out-of-the-box thinking to realize what is going on.


MINDFULNESS 4: If something does not make sense then do not explain it away.

  1. Observe as usual. Notice the environment and the people in it.

  2. Start applying the aspects of mindfulness that you have learned so far.

  3. As you observe, see if there is something that does not make sense.

Example: Some people literally view God as a person who has created this universe. However, a person has a form that occupies space. That form and space of a person are also things that are created as part of the universe. So, God cannot be a person and also the creator of the universe. Reference: A Lovely Discussion on God

  1. Recognize it as an inconsistency; do not pretend that you understand it.

  2. If there is an impulse to explain it away then recognize that too.

  3. Look more closely and isolate exactly what it is that you do not understand.

  4. If it is an idea or concept then look it up in a dictionary, encyclopedia, or on Internet.

  5. If it is some contradiction or inconsistency, then check your assumptions. Be alert to what you might be taking for granted. Verify any assumptions.

  6. If it is a failure in life, then check if there is blame being placed somewhere. Blame pretends to be an answer, but it does not provide solution. Ignore all attempts at blame.

  7. If it is an unwanted condition, then check for explanations that are being used. Ignore all explanations that have not led to resolution in the past.

  8. Simply observe around what does not makes sense without explaining it away, until it starts to resolve.

  9. Expand your span of attention and let the perceptions pour in.

  10. Let the realizations present themselves to you without you making any effort.

  11. Use your own judgment as to when to end a session.


Develop this exercise to a point where you may execute it even while interacting socially with others. Keep observing patiently without explaining things away and things will start to fall in place. Many things may come up naturally to be scrutinized. Simply observe and become aware of them without effort.


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