You might have heard – You are not your mind. You are not your thoughts. So have I, but I never understood how to translate it. I have spent some time recently with teachers and gurus in India and got to feel what they are talking about. Not just understanding in my head but also as a bodily sensation. I get it now that I am someone behind the scenes watching all the plays happening in my head.
Most of my writings have been on how to take care of the body to experience ease, health, and peace. And yes, it does matter, but I also clearly see that there is much more to real happiness and joy. We will not be able to escape the suffering that our mind imposes on us unless we refuse to listen to it. We have the option to follow the stories our mind throws at us or not. That doesn’t mean that they will not keep popping up anymore. It’s just that we can choose not put any attention to what that inner voice is saying. It is not going to stop talking just like ‘that,’ without a fit. We need to decide that what it is saying has nothing to do with us and nothing to do with what is real and reliable.
There are times your mind fills in the blanks, and you believe
Just like that...
Became Your Reality
Your imagination came up with a story, and it seemed real until you learned that the truth was completely different. It happens all the time. Our thinker says whatever it wants to, sometimes it’s nice, and we like to believe it. Especially when it talks like: “You did well, that was excellent what you said. You are smart to come up with an answer like that, and so on”. It will keep going on as long as you listen. We would like to think that it is us talking when it is all joyful and happy and positive. Your brain will feed you one minute with what you want to hear, to make you feel like you are in control and it is on your side. The very next moment it will happily decide to tell you that you messed up, that you are not worth it and you will never get where you want to be. It is the mind that keeps you under control by telling you things about yourself. It loves to play it small and keep you tamed. It doesn’t like any change or a challenge. If you want to grow and uplevel your life, expect delays from it. Your mind can ruin anything in your life if you believe it. We all were conditioned to do so. Since early childhood, we were conditioned to believe that we are what we think. You are a bad person if you don’t have kind thoughts only. I remember feeling sad as a child for having mean ideas or dreams. I desperately wanted to be a good girl, but my mind didn’t always cooperate. Sometimes what was happening in my head even scared me, and I fully believed it all. I took it as that I wasn’t a good kid. Even though I felt kind, I couldn’t escape occasional violent fantasies. In reality, the ideas and visions aren’t ours, nor are we them. Most of the concepts playing in our brains repeat themselves, and if you were saying loud everything that makes it into your mind, people next to you would be turning their heads in disbelief and probably get up and leave.
Try this exercise – repeat loudly every single thought that comes to you. It’s a mess, isn’t it? As soon as you start seeing it, your mind will feel threatened and will throw in the nicest thoughts just to prove that you are your mind and you shall listen to it because it is on your side. It wants you to believe that you are in control. But as soon as you stop being aware, it is going to go back to whatever it wants to. It is a game. Some of our minds love to dig in the past and repeat the same old story over and over. Maybe with a slight twist to it. If you don’t realize that this is just a mind play and buy into it, you can spend years obsessing with tales that aren’t true and maybe never were. Even if you think that your mind is replaying a situation exactly the way it happened, you might be the only one who sees it this way. Maybe there is another person involved in the act who sees it quite differently. You know what I mean, right? What is valid then? There can not be two different truths at the same time. The reality is only one. What is true cannot change, it is that which is unchanging. If your story evolves with time, it is not real. Plus it is gone, and it is not worth paying attention to. It is time to let go and free yourself from the obsession. I remember describing to my friends a situation that happened with an adamant believe that that is exactly how it happened. Looking now at the same event, the story kept changing as I was repeating it. Further from the time it happened, the tale continued modifying more and more and eventually, it lost its charge, the words became mellower, and eventually, I got tired of it altogether as it lost its charge. Now I see the same scenario, which I thought at one point was the worst thing happening to me, as just an experience and don’t put any weight on it. I try to see most of the emotionally charged stories from the past as lessons and opportunities for growth. If you don’t learn from what life is throwing at you, you are missing the point. Our soul is here, in this body, to learn from different encounters.
I highly recommend starting by paying attention to the nonsense our minds brings to us and not letting them grow into stories.
Learning to let go of every idea you have, can provide enormous liberation, and save you lots of energy. That is the only way to experience unlimited joy, once you truly let go. Not clinging to the stories is the most real freedom you can experience. Freedom from your thoughts, freedom from your mind. If there is no story, there is no suffering. If there is no ego to listen to them, there is an enormous space opening to you. We all need to accept that we are not our mind, or our body, we are not even our emotions, sensations or feelings. We believe we are and it’s causing us to suffer. Letting go of the ego is the way to the freedom land.
Who you really are, is the one who is behind all this, the one who is watching this play. Try to find and access this quiet space. Letting go of your thoughts is deeply relaxing by itself. Joy and happiness come naturally once you manage not to follow the ideas that come to you. There is a vastness of calm and harmony out there. All that is left after discarding of your mind is pure love. Just don’t put any attention on a thought and it will disappear just like it showed up. The good news is that this experience of inner freedom is available to everyone. Right now. The not so good news is that more conditioned you are to believe that you are your mind, harder it is going to be for you to let go. If you have been spending time lost in your thoughts; if you can’t sleep because of your mind racing; if it’s your belief that you have to listen to your brainwork – you will have to make a tremendous effort to conquer this phenomenon. Maybe you enjoy replaying past experiences, and you like living in what happened but is already gone. Maybe it was all sweet and happy, and you want to hold on to it. You might feel very emotionally attached to a past romance. But it is gone, just like the future is unknown. Possibly you look forward to planning in your head, playing conversations how you think they might happen, things you will say in a particular case. You are only wasting your precious time; the situation will possibly never come, it might not present itself the way you imagined. In reality, things rarely happen the way you pictured them. By living in the past or future, you are missing the beauty of NOW. You cannot be present for what is happening right now if you are not here, if you are somewhere else, where your mind wants to have you.
The primary purpose of the mind is to control you. As soon as you decide that you are not willing to be its biggest fan and start letting go, it is going to resist at first. Our ‘thinker’ does not like the idea of us not listening, and it will do everything possible to get behind the driver’s seat again. Don’t fall into the trap of beautiful bright thoughts. See it for what it is. Just a mind play.
Still not convinced? Just watch and pay attention, your mind is totally capable of getting you all lured in with a sweet talk and ruining your experience next moment. Your mind can destroy relationships; it can even mess up your wedding day. One minute you might be the happiest person, getting married to the love of your life. The very next moment, without anything changing, your mind will say something like: “Are you sure this is the right guy? Do you remember that one time he…” “When was the last time he did something for you?”
The definition of anxiety is living in the future, the definition of the depression is living in the past. The happiness is NOW.
The mind is just a pest. You will not be able to get rid of it, but you have the choice of not listening to it. If you stop putting attention on it, it will diminish its attacks slowly. You have to be very patient, very strict and very diligent. And eventually, you will laugh at what it is capable of saying.
If you are feeling uncomfortable right now, somewhat ready to leave, maybe even anxious; trust me, it is your mind not liking the loss of power. The resistance is kicking in. You should know, it is normal and to be expected. Your genius is going to fight back. It is going to argue vigorously. It will do anything to keep the iron fist over you. There will be friction arising and discomfort is inevitable. But the reward, the peace, the silence and the freedom are so worth checking it out. At the end, who says that it has to be for good. Maybe you will find that you like your mind, that you like the stories and will go back. Your mind will be waiting for you.