The purpose of spiritual practice can be expressed as three streams of awareness.
One; the purpose of spiritual practice is to reach full awareness of who and what you truly are, i.e. to find your innermost, true nature.
Two; the purpose of spiritual practice is to reach full awareness of what “God” (or “The Absolute” or “Ultimate Truth” or “The Source” or whatever is your preferred way to refer to That) is.
Three; the purpose of spiritual practice is to reach full awareness of the relationship between the previous two.
The essence of spiritual practice, then, is to lift the veils from your eyes, and see what is real as distinct from what is illusory; to distinguish Reality from conceptual constructs. Or in other words, to tell fact from fiction.
The fiction is spun by the thinking faculty; we can call it the mind. Every experience that you have, in and of itself comes without labels/names or parts, but the mind conceptualises the experience, breaks it into parts, labels/names each part, and organises them into a “map,” a mental representation of the various components of the experience – it creates a fictional version of the experience.
However, attentive observation will reveal that each moment of experience is one, whole, unbroken impression as it shows up in consciousness – a ‘raw’, simple, phenomenological fact.
Mindfulness meditation has this actual, immediate, phenomenological fact in focus. It aims at accessing each experience, as it is, prior to any concepts added by the mind. In the practice of mindfulness meditation we enter into a deeper investigation of the phenomenological experience, peeling off layer by layer of conceptual constructs.
Along the way we develop increasing awareness of the ‘witnessing consciousness’ itself. The ‘witnessing consciousness’ is that in which all the experiential phenomena show up, that to which all experiences occur. It is in the ‘witnessing consciousness’ that even the sense of being a person shows up. Hence, the ‘witnessing consciousness’ is independent of and exists prior to the ‘person self’.
Ultimately, then, mindfulness meditation aims at transcending the sense of being a person, i.e. an individual that appears to be an entity separated from the wholeness of… Life, Being, Reality, God… whatever That is, which words and concepts are unable to reach – the ultimate Fact.
If you are drawn to investigate first-hand what mindfulness meditation can offer as spiritual practice, you may want to consider participating in the Integrating Awareness Meditation course.