Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Harnessing the mind

Our minds are so amazing: so much talent, so much strength, so much power -- and all at our constant beck and call, obedient to our every wish. But -- for my generation at least -- we don't seem to have been given the tools to rein in all that strength and power, and so our minds, ungoverned, have a way of running away with us.

We have only to wish, and the mind is off and running, thinking of how best to make that wish come true, or what life might be like if it did come true, or how sad our lives are because that wish hasn't yet been granted. And because the mind is so big and powerful, it runs away with us, and there we are, galloping through this forest of uncontrolled thoughts, hanging on for dear life for fear of falling off.

Imagine how much simpler and more pleasant life could be if we could figure out how to rein in those thoughts, keep them to a gentle canter -- or better still, how to dismount, disengage; to allow the mind to run free while sitting on a fence and watching, or while maybe going somewhere else altogether... What if the mind, instead of running wild and out of control, were obedient, at our beck and call, waiting patiently in the stall for us to arrive and saddle up for our next adventure?

But the only way to get to that point is to understand that we are NOT our minds, but separate, and in control -- and then to build a relationship with the mind: to establish who's boss, to offer food for thought, to groom it occasionally... I know. It's an odd analogy. But it seems to me that much of the wisdom through the ages is an attempt to help us understand that we are not our minds, but a separate consciousness. And that meditation is a way of helping to train our minds, to establish control, to build a relationship within ourselves; to harness and contain that phenomenal power and put it to better use...

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