Many masters and spiritual teachers in the past have made an enemy of the mind, and continue to do so today, calling it the monkey mind or trashing it as a garbage bin with all sorts of useless thoughts, rendering our thoughts redundant and proposing rigorous meditations to escape the mind’s endless chatter, as a means to achieving inner peace.
Anybody who asks you to escape the mind has not understood the role of the mind and its importance in our human experience, incarnated into the physical body here on earth. Thoughts are the language of the mind. Resisting our thoughts make us fearful of them, we try to avoid them, deny them, reject them, change them, all in the name of positive thinking or meditation. People are so quick to supersede a negative thought or word with a positive blanket that they come across as superficial and unnatural; they are essentially doing themselves a disservice when they do so. As this kind of resistance is actually more detrimental than beneficial; it can lead to the manifestation of all kinds of dysfunction, disorder and disease. All diseases are born in the mind. A dis-ease is a mind that is not at ease. Rejecting any aspect of our beings puts the mind at a place of dis-ease. Denying or resisting our thoughts is the surest way to keep them there. Surely that is no short cut to enlightenment. We are here to experience wholeness. Escaping or avoiding parts of ourselves causes the opposite: disintegration or fragmentation. Rather we must integrate all aspects of our being if we wish to attain any state of wholeness, oneness or so-called enlightenment. We have to save ourselves from our own wrong thoughts about ourselves!
The body is not who we are. The mind is not who we are. The soul is also not who we are. We are the essence of All That Is, God, divinity. But there is a reason we leave that absolute realm of all knowing and incarnate into this physical body. Experience is a vehicle driven by the physical incarnation only. In the absolute realm, there is only absolute knowing of who we really are, but no experience of it. It is in the body that we can experience in physicality who we are i.e. divinity itself. And so, when we descend into this physical plane, our essence splits into three parts: body, mind and spirit. The mind is a bridge between the soul and the body. It is not just an essential tool but a powerful creator of our physical realities here on earth. It is in the mind all experiences are lived. Just the body cannot experience anything when the mind is not in the game. The game gets juicier when we can involve all three: body, mind and spirit. Hence, a delicate balance must be struck among the three. Delving too much in any aspect can topple that balance; too much in the soul and we lose the physical experience, too much in the body and we forget who we really are, too much in the mind and we get too attached to everything! It is a combination of being in all three aspects of ourselves is what will create oneness, or integration of our selves.
Quoting from the Orange book of Osho’s techniques: Mind is a thorn and all techniques are thorns to bring the first thorn out… Mind is something unnatural; it never becomes your natural state. But meditation is a natural state – which we have lost. It is a paradise lost, but the paradise can be regained. MEDITATION is a state of no-mind. Meditation is a state of pure consciousness with no content. Ordinarily, your consciousness is too full of rubbish, just like a mirror covered with dust. The mind is a constant traffic: thoughts are moving, desires are moving, memories are moving, ambitions are moving – it is a constant traffic!
Many spiritual teachers have made the mind an enemy, teaching us to escape our minds in order to find inner peace. It seems like we have to cut off parts of ourselves in order to attain the peace they promise. Most people are happier to be at a place of turbulence than at a place of that kind of numbed out peace which gives an uncomfortable knot in the stomach as the mind is constantly made the villain. It is not only unnatural, but impossible to renounce the mind completely as long as we are in the physical body. Anybody who trashes the mind as rubbish is, in fact, speaking those words that originate from a thought in the mind only! A word proceeds from a thought, it does not precede it. However, it is possible to channel the mind toward creating constructive outcomes. And that cannot happen as long as we consider the mind an enemy. When we experience our dark nights of the soul, we want to find some solace, and we buy into any or every promise of peace and enlightenment, without considering their validity or truth. But then our spirits at some point steps in and says NO. It is no big deal to cultivate inner peace at a meditation center or prolonged stay at ashrams, renouncing all our earthly desires or the messiness of everyday life. When you escape all realities of life, it’s not a big feat to be “at peace” as some masters have demonstrated. But living life, handling its messiness in a peaceful way is what is challenging. And what is peace anyways? It is boring! The opposite of excitement, the opposite of life! If life has no problems, no challenges, no contrasts to experiment with, then we won’t grow, evolve, progress or expand nor self-realize. Everything will be just theoretical with no physical experience. Might as well stay on the other side in the absolute realm; why come to the physical plane? This is why most meditation courses and spiritual discourses fail to deliver their promises or they’ll turn the tables and blame you for your failure, claiming that you have not tried hard enough! The fact that those methods not only don’t work but put people at a place of more inner self-conflict is hard to see in general, because people tend to put these masters on a pedestal, believing they know the way; but they are making business, growing richer every day at your cost! The reason we have incarnated into the physical realm is to live a physical life. It is essential to know the role of the soul in our lives and be in alignment with our soul’s desires, however renouncing the physical altogether for our soul’s expansion does not have much practical value. What is enlightenment anyways? An experience of our light! We are all beings of light. And it is in the physical where we need to shine that light of inner knowing, to be truly enlightened. But that cannot be achieved by renouncing our needs, wants, desires, ego or the mind. We have to make friends with these challenging aspects of our beings for them to reveal their gifts to us. When we deny, reject or resist them, we not only keep them there, but we unleash their darker aspects and suffer more. Do you think a person ‘at peace’ does not suffer or experience pain? They just choose to numb it out or not react. That way they stop feeling anything. But feelings are the language of our soul, the driver of our life experiences.
We are already whole, complete, perfect, healed, and loved. There is no wrong path back to ourselves, back to the divine. Everyone is living their soul agendas, walking their own paths. Yes we can help each other on our journeys, reduce suffering and pain but we cannot say, my path is better than yours or it is a short-cut to enlightenment. Bypassing or escaping any aspect of our selves, is pushing them deeper into our subconscious, and that is no short-cut to self-realization as those become our shadows, blind spots, to haunt us at inopportune moments when we least expect them. People who try to renounce the ego, for example, become so righteous and rigid in their ways, that itself is a display of their egos! What is the meaning of joy that cannot be shared with anyone? Celibacy, austerity, dexterity are the ways of the yogis, to achieve what, self-knowledge? It is people who believe that the physical incarnation is a punishment will preach such things, so we don’t have to return here. But that is just a belief system and not necessarily true. They resist life itself. The one who understands the game of life, will never resist life, rather they will embrace it. Because what we resist, persists. What we really look at ceases to have any power over us, including the mind! Life is a choice, not a compulsion for anyone.
Life on earth is governed by the Law of Attraction which essentially implies like attracts like; meaning like energy attracts similar outcomes; fear attracts fear, love attracts love. Fear, love, anger, jealousy, violence, peace, anxiety, tranquility, dreams, desires… all exist in the mind. Emotions are energies in motion; they are our internal compass and inform us about our inner states of being at any given moment. Emotions are strong forces that can directly impact our well-being; a prolonged negative emotion in the mind will cause a dis-ease in the body. Emotions give us feedback, what to feel and feelings are our soul signature. This is how the three connect -mind, body and soul. Coming solely from the mind or the body or the soul would be detrimental in the long run. We need to integrate all three in order to lead a balanced life. Creation gets interesting when we understand that the mind is a bridge between the body and spirit, so we can channel it in whatever direction we choose to experience desirable outcomes; deliberate thoughts, empowering beliefs, creative visualization, focused meditation, positive thinking, shadow work, can all be constructive tools to help create our realities.
The mind is powerful, designed to serve our physical experience on earth. Free will and choice are mechanisms of the mind to navigate life. Thoughts are things. Heaven and hell are created in the mind. An act of compassion and an act of terrorism are both born in the mind. But must we reject the mind in order to avoid terrorism? Then the compassion will vanish too, as people will become so hard on themselves that they will do the same to others as well. In the past when people did not understand the role of the mind and the place of the ego in it, they called it evil and hence thought renouncing it is the solution to all the problems the ego creates. The same way desire is believed to be the root of all suffering. But desire propels creation. It is the attachment that comes with desire which causes suffering. There is a difference. Because desire in itself cannot be wrong; it propels life and all choices. Perhaps when people trashed the mind, what they meant was that the mind can have all kinds of destructive and constructive thoughts and channeling it would be a better usage of it. But they did not put it in such layman’s terms, creating much confusion and misinterpretation of their teachings by those who follow them blindly. So like all of us, their teachings, learnings and understandings of life were also incomplete and should be taken with a pinch of salt, not to be followed religiously as the only truth. In the end, there is no absolute truth; all truth is subjective given the perspective of the person through whose filters it is coming, based on his circumstances and experiences of reality.
All in all, the mind is a wonderful tool, a beautiful vehicle for creation. For us to function in the physical plane, we need the mind to bring the wisdom of our souls into our bodies. When we meditate for example, we are using the mind only to understand its implications, to connect to higher dimensions, and once we reach those realms we may have an experience of mindlessness, timelessness etc. The mind is needed to understand this human experience, to understand thoughts, concepts, patterns; even the teachings of any master are understood in the mind only! Nonetheless, identifying too much with the mind is not healthy. The mind can make or break our realities depending on how we use it. We need to channel it in order to create consciously, not get rid of it. In fact we can’t, no matter how much we try. Instead we must use it as an ally, to propel us in the direction of our dreams and desires, make it our friend so it can serve us on this journey called life, rather than work against us through our dysfunctional beliefs and limiting thought patterns that rob us of inner joy.
Abandoning, escaping, rejecting, denying, sabotaging any parts of us is not a short cut to enlightenment. In fact, it is a detour!
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