There exists a thin line between discernment and self-deception
The mind has all sorts of deceptions by which it fools itself – this is what continues to sustain the Devil, from the beginningless time, otherwise we would still be in the Garden of Eden. If you aren’t skillful and adept in investigating these delusions and seeing through them, they are extremely difficult to overcome even if you are constantly mindful to vigil over the mind. One has to make an exemplary effort to focus on meditatively contemplate on these things at all times. Mindfulness (or prayer, or mere meditation) on its own won’t give rise to any real Self-Knowledge. At best, it can give you only a little protection against the effects of sensory contact. If you don’t make a concentrated meditative contemplation, the mind won’t be able to give rise to any knowledge within itself at all.
This is why it’s essential that one trains themselves to be constantly aware all around (the clock). When you come to know anything for what it really is, there is nothing else to do but letting go like one would to do to a ball or red-hot iron. On the beginning level this means that the mind won’t give rise to any unwise or unprofitable thoughts – it will simply stop to watch, it will stop to know within itself at all times. If there is anything you have to think about, keep your thoughts on the inconstancy of all phenomena, stress and lack of Self thereof. To be successful in this meditation, you have to keep the mind thinking and labeling solely in reference to these sorts of themes, for if your thinking and labeling are right, you’ll come to see things rightly. If you go the opposite direction, you will have to think wrongly and label things wrongly, and that means you’ll have to see things wrongly as well. This is what keeps the mind completely hidden from itself.
Now, when thought s or labels arise in the mind, then if you focus on watching them closely, you’ll see that they are mere sensations – sensations that constitute of arising and disbanding, changeable, unreliable and utterly illusory. If you don’t make an effort to keep a sharp and subtle focused watch on them, you will ultimately fall for the deceptions of thought-formation. Therefore, the mind ordinarily gives rise to memories of the past and fashions issues dealing with the past; but if you are aware of what’s going on in time, you’ll see that they are illusory. There’s no real truth to them at all. Even the meanings the mind gives to good and bad sensory contacts at the moment they occur – if you carefully observe and contemplate – you’ll see that they are all deceptive. There is no real truth to them but ignorance and delusion latch onto them all, and this alone drives the mind around in circles.
In other words, the mind doesn’t really know what’s what – from whence and how these things arise, persist and disband – so it latches onto them and thereby gets itself deceived on many, many levels. Hence, if you don’t stop to focus and watch there’s no way you can see through these things and phenomena at all – you will always dance to the tunes of your (and others’) deluded mind. There is no a hell worse than this – one’s wealth, beauty or status notwithstanding!