Please don’t feed the mind

Wed. March 27th, 2019 5:50 pm

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I had a perception that psychological challenges, which, in the west and in our modern times are typically assessed with counseling or some sort of psychotherapeutic delineation, aren’t so much mental maladies as they are calls from the soul, piercing through the veil of maya illusion in an attempt to seize our lost focus and reorient it towards the core truth of our existence.

In the Eastern traditions, psychological malady is recognized in this manner as it has been for ages. In primal or aboriginal cultures, a witch doctor or shaman might be consulted to eradicate demons or bad influences. The perspective taken is that the one suffering the affliction is always, at their base, well, and that help sought is simply to return them to wellness.

Western psychiatry takes a similar bent. There is always wellness buried behind the cobwebs of mental delusion.

I paused on this note while watching a film, in which the main character had a change of heart, a resulting change of character, and ultimately wellness and balance. The character had suffered from loneliness all his life, and so his actions were perceived as irrational because they were so over the top by conventional standards. The character simply was seeking love, to be loved, to be empowered to give it, and by so doing compelled others around him to avoid his company. This perplexed the main character, compelling him to behave in manners more extreme than in the beginning. Eventually, understanding between he and the others was achieved, and in that moment, psychological healing occurred, and the love that was so evasive was found, albeit possessing a different semblance than expected or initially envisioned.

This is true of all of us. It’s a human condition. We behave in manners that don’t always jive with our contemporaries – our family, friends, colleagues, community others – until we are able to recognize a need to initiate only the simplest change, and that is to allow the heart to open ever so slightly, which is all is needed for the light of right understanding to shine in all its brilliance.

As I contemplated this, I looked within myself and saw a pattern of similar irrational behavior that has puppeteered me my whole life. Then I recalled other instances when I could see these patterns in others. The whole of human behavior seems to be an expressive plea for the experience of love. Why is it that our species innately behaves so witlessly? We tend to bounce from external stimuli to external stimuli while our mind contrives what it perceives to be appropriate responses. Some of our behaviors are predicated on survival instinct. Some of them arise from fear. Some rise from a compellation to belong, to be wanted, to be needed. All of the latter arises from an innate desire to serve.

In a conversation about meditation with one of my colleagues, I was asked “But how do you make the mind stop?” The answer is simple: Don’t feed it. The mind doesn’t stop. It’s a mind. Its function is to think and create thoughts. One simply needs to watch the mind, witness it doing its thing.

The mind is a tool. Like our fingers, legs, liver, eyes, etc, it is provided in our species to serve a function, to serve us. The situation is that humanity has largely lost the ability to recognize this. Do we use the mind to serve us for our benefit? Or, do we let the mind use us to our detriment? The latter generally prevails.

The reason Buddha, Jesus and other great sages through history stand apart is that they found the means to lasso the mind and use it the way it was intended. The mind is the interference, the static on our television. Like a TV set, we just need to know the instructions to properly tune the mind to get the best and clearest reception. When we learn this, we soon see that we are inherently capable of seeing more than anticipated. By watching mind, by just witnessing thoughts come and go like flotsam and jetsam on the surface of a buoyant ocean, the mind recognizes that it has no control over us, and humbly retreats in submission, becomes clamer and more quiet, pranaming to the greatness of the now visible soul in the capacity of the servant which it rightfully is.

Regular practice of meditation is one technique that helps to keep the mind’s activity in check. It will, by its nature, repeatedly attempt to usurp the crown of the kingdom of the soul. This morning, for example, while I was meditating, my mind wouldn’t cease! Thought after thought arose, one after another in unrelenting repetition. Now and then, a thought here and there would distract me from my inner focus, and another thought would then arise that said “Hey, now that’s a good idea!” So, while I witnessed my thoughts, I witnessed a second and third tier of thoughts arise in conjunction with one initial thought. If I had to count the number of thoughts that arose in that 20 minute meditation session, I would have to say thousands, easily.

Yet, each time, I caught myself beginning to get distracted, and promptly averted my attention back to focus on the inhalation and exhalation of my breath. Almost immediately, the storm of thoughts would evaporate like steam. And all the while, another set of thoughts subtly began to percolate.

So, thoughts don’t stop, but we can. But simply sitting still and letting go for a few brief minutes out of each day, we gradually develop an increased habit of retaining the witness state, and with each day, the mind becomes gradually quieter and more subservient. The perfection of the mind as a tool lies in this state of subservience. Everything in creation is designed to serve everything else.

Inner contentment during a Lyft ride

Thoughts on recent experiences while Meditating

Just some thoughts while I recall them. I have noticed that each time I meditate, I feel a variety of moving sensations within my brain. I haven’t been able to define if it’s just the nerve endings on the skin layer over my skull, or if there is something going on with synapse cellular growth within my brain. I am aware that scientific research has conclusively proven that meditation does enhance brain ability and will stimulate previously abandoned neurological waystations within the brain.

All this morning, for example, while I rode in my hired Lyft to the airport, while walking through the terminal, and while sitting at my gate awaiting to board, I felt a massage-like sensation gently pulsating in the area of the pineal gland between my eyebrows. Accompanying that was a very gentle sense of joy and fulfillment – the contentment mentioned in the first part of this entry. 

The other day, I noticed my body just kept wanting to recline and rest, no matter how much I rested anyway. I was curious about why this was happening, as I didn’t really feel fatigued. While laying on my bed for several hours, I noticed how oxygen seemed to almost forcibly flow through my bloodstream. I felt it more pronounced in my legs, my lungs, organs, etc. It was a curious experience. I asked my soul, my Antaryamin, what this was about. Almost immediately I was reminded that I had recently prayed to be healed of any ailment I had of which I wasn’t aware that I had. I actually had this same notion weeks before, when I had a relentless case of the flu for three weeks – a duration I don’t recall having before.

In meditation, I became cognizant that my body was cleansing itself. Of course, all sickness is the body’s effort to cleanse itself of biological invaders, But it is also true that the practice of yoga, while digging deeply into the psyche to help create awareness, simultaneously is digging deeply into our cellular level, eradicating the root cause of those symptoms that prevent us from experiencing our inherently divine nature.