Einstein said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
I say: “We cannot go beyond the mind with the mind.”
All suffering derives from thought.
Humans are ‘at effect of’–and essentially enslaved by–the incessant and relentless thoughts that arise unbidden.
To free yourself from the unconscious, kneejerk reactions to thought that create havoc and misery in your life, you must first cultivate sufficient awareness to notice the thoughts as they arise.
Let me digress: Firstly, we must understand the nature of ‘mind.’ Mind is divided into two parts: the Working Mind and the Thinking Mind.
The Working Mind is the part connected to the Infinite, or Higher Consciousness, and is associated with the Right Brain. It’s the part whence inspiration comes, where genius and creativity are sourced and what is functioning when one is ‘in the zone.’
The Thinking Mind is associated with the Left Brain, and is sub-divided into the practical functioning aspect–that which plans a trip or makes a grocery list–and what I call the Distracter. The Distracter is the villain of the piece, if you will, and also consists of two parts: the random thoughts that continuously arise without volition, and the ‘little voice.’ The little voice is NOT to be confused with the ‘still, small voice’ that inspires. The little voice is the voice that you believe is ‘you’–but it’s not. What is it? The Distracter. Something that keeps you occupied by fantasizing about the future or regretting the past, that replays conversations with more desirable outcomes, that criticizes both self and others–you know the voice I’m talking about. The Distracter is what causes you to miss your life as it passes you by while you’re living in your head. It also causes you to interpret what others say and do in ways that have nothing to do with reality.
Self-Mastery is what happens when one conquers the Distracter with Awareness.
And how does one cultivate Awareness? By paying attention.
How much do you actually see, hear, smell or taste without noticing the signals that the senses are receiving? Are you aware of tasting the food you eat, or is it just a passing sensation? Are you aware of seeing what you eye beholds, or is it just part of the scenery? Are you aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it, or are you simply running off at the mouth? Do you do what you say you will do, or are your words empty of value?
By cultivating self-observation we begin to develop self-awareness. (Awareness of the lesser self: the body/mind-personality.)
By developing self-awareness we begin to achieve Awareness(a state of Higher Consciousness) and embark on the road to self-mastery. (Mastery of the body/mind-personality.)
Thus we are no longer slaves of the mind and subject to its unconscious reactivity, but masters of the egoic and deliberate responders to Life.
Let me digress again–and I will bring you full circle:
The Heart of the Matter is: “You are not what you think.” Not in terms of the thoughts that arise, and emphatically not in the way you think of yourself: the false identification that has been programmed into you since the day you were born–by your parents, teachers, religious community, government, and the media.
While you’ve been successfully convinced that the way you wear your hair and the size and shape of your breasts, along with the car you drive, the name on your clothes and the PDA you sport are the determining factors in your success and desirability, you’ve been hoodwinked into spending all your time and energy pursuing these false idols of satisfaction. And tell the truth: Are you satisfied? Or are you still running after the latest (fill-in-the-blank).
The truth is: you are NOT your physical attributes whether comely or otherwise; nor are you your education, wealth or lack thereof; your car, shoes or designer whatever; your relationships or your job. Neither are you the labels that may have been attached along the way: beauty queen, star, idol, nerd, criminal, loser or failure.
What are you? An individualized aspect of the Infinite Creative Intelligence- sometimes referred to as a Child of God. Also known as an Embodiment of Love.
Now, in order to know this experientially, you must get out of your head.
In order to get out of your head you must cultivate sufficient awareness to notice the thoughts as they arise.
Once you begin to notice the thoughts, the next step is REFUSE TO ENGAGE.
When you realize that engaging in the thought is what makes you angry, depressed, frustrated, (fill-in-the-blank), you will be motivated to ‘not take delivery of’ or ‘refuse to engage with’ that thought.
Then it’s just a matter of practice. (And practice you must, because the thoughts will never cease, not as long as you remain in a body.) The more you remain aware and notice, the easier it will be not to indulge but to maintain your attention in the Here & Now where Life is lived.
Some suggest treating the thoughts like clouds and letting them drift away. Some suggest focusing the attention on the breath and watching as it enters and exits the body at the nostrils. Some suggest bringing the attention to the physical environment and engaging in activity.
I have used all these methods and find that with some particularly obnoxious, repetitive thoughts the best response is a firm “buzz off”–as one would respond to an especially annoying, loathsome acquaintance.
Whatever you choose to do, be vigilant. Do not allow the thought to ‘hook’ you and take you on its trip–you have no idea where it will lead, though ultimately you will land in the stinkhole that is the favorite realm of the Distracter.
All suffering derives from thought.
You who think you are in control of your life have no control over the Distracter.
The only way to liberate yourself from suffering is to cultivate Awareness and achieve Self-Mastery.
The reward is simply Peace of Mind and a Joyful Life.