Rarely, except in spiritual circles, do I read anything about the inner workings of the mind. And yet, whether we like it or not, it’s how we live our lives (unless you’re suffering with a mental illness in which case things are likely to or could be very different).
If that’s right then why is it our parents, Schools, Universities and our so-called leaders place no or very little emphasis on understanding how the mind works?
Put it another way, why do our institutions insist or delivering answers, and not invite us to ask better questions?
Perhaps it is that we don’t think we can affect our thoughts. And you may be right. But what if we didn’t get caught in the play or were able to observe without being drawn to energise or increase the frequency of (negative) thoughts.
I bet you haven’t even considered it.
None of this though requires a leap of faith. There’s more than enough evidence to show how something as simple as mindfulness can bring about profound change in our lives. If you need a helpful definition of mindfulness then according to Jon Kabat-Zinn (see the talk below) "mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally." One of the exercises that’s usually offered up to make us think more carefully about our actions, thoughts and emotions is to eat a raisin purposefully. And that’s fine but anything we do, no matter how mundane, can be practised in a mindful way, i.e. washing the dishes.
You might like to try it.
Having long ago departed from the desire to control my mind, it’s been a genuine blessing, some four years ago, to return to an area of my study (the mind) that I knew then, but for the wrong reasons, was key to unlocking my potential and living a peaceful life. In this area you’ll find lots to read but I still find the work of Adyashanti the most important.
In terms of my work, you’ll see a number of my profiles bear the label ‘Awaken the Genius’. This is no accident: it’s my fundamental belief that we all possess amazing, latent potential and for reasons that I still can’t wholly fathom, I feel compelled to work with and help others who consider that they are living a shadow life. (As Steven Pressfield has said many times, “In the shadow life, we live in denial and we act by addiction. We pursue callings that take us nowhere and permit ourselves to be controlled (or are not aware of) and whose outcomes serve only to keep us caged, unconscious and going nowhere.”)
In summary, before you articulate another wish list of faux promises, which you hope will be indelibly inscribed on your subconscious by dint of some hard-nosed reassurance (get better all that stuff), perhaps it’s time to sit, relax and observe your thoughts. You don’t need have any aims or objectives but just to act as witness. If you can turn this one-off exercise into a daily routine -- even in the middle a hectic day -- you may find that you begin to explore what it means to live outside of the prison of your thoughts, the majority of which come about by your conditioning of old or the Lizard Brain that wants to keep you as you are.