Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Enlightenment Q & A: Day Eight . . How to Still the Mind.

The Over Active Mind.

I was recently asked about meditation and how it can be used to help an overactive mind. My reply was that all minds are overactive unless they are ‘stilled.’ I hope that together, you and I, will be able to look at this subject and discover the ‘truth’ with regard to an overactive mind, and discover the way that meditation can bring the mind peace and stillness. First of all let us look at a few facts regarding meditation:

  • The aim of correct meditation is not simply to still the mind.
  • Stillness naturally unfolds as you becomes practiced in the art of true meditation.
  • Meditation is a method, a process, that expands consciousness/self-awareness.
  • Meditation is not something that requires effort, which means that there is nothing you have to try to achieve.

The aim of meditation, if there is such a thing, is to expand your self-awareness/consciousness but it requires no effort, just dedication. That may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t, let me explain.

In the process of learning to meditate, especially in the early stages, you become aware of all the activity that is taking place within your mind and psyche. This is an ongoing process that many teachers call self-realization, which is a process whereby you discover and realize the truth about your “self.”

The self-realization process begins with self-observation. That is you observing your ‘self.’ Your self consists of all your thoughts, emotions and actions/behavior. If you are to realize the truth of yourself then you’re going to have to do plenty of self-observation and in the beginning you may well find this difficult.

To begin with your aim is to become aware of all the discursive thinking that is taking place within your own mind. Initially it can be quite a shock to discover just how much aimless and problematic thinking is taking place within your mind. Yes, within your mind dear reader, I'm discussing what is going on within your own psyche, this applies to you, especially if you think it doesn't. Only the individual who sits in self-observation will become aware of just what is happening within their mind and psyche, everyone else lives in total ignorance of the subject, that's just the way it is!

The more time you spend in self-observation (observation of your thinking/emotional habits) the more aware you become of all the discursive thinking and emotive reacting that is taking place. It is at this stage that many people give up, even before they have begun, because they are unable to cope with what appears to be an overload of mental activity. Remember, the aim at this stage is simply to become aware of all the discursive, aimless and problematic thinking, including emotional reactivity, that is taking place within your mind/psyche. Your task is to simply observe and be aware of it. There is nothing more to be done. There is no battle to get involved in. Just observe the thoughts and emotions taking place within your field of experience, which means within your mind and psyche.

This is an important point: Do not react emotionally to what you are observing, remain a detached observer, like a teacher watching school children running around the playground while they make an awful noise . . simply observe your mental activity without the need to judge what you are witnessing. There are no right or wrong thoughts and emotions, there’s nothing to judge as good or bad, simply see it all taking place within your mind. Be the detached witness or observer of all your discursive thoughts and emotions. In this way your meditation, as self-observation, should be effortless, but you will need to be dedicated to going through the self-realization process. Without a dedicated approach to meditation and self-knowledge you will fail like countless others have done before you.

‘Meditation is the seeing of what is and going beyond it.’
J. Krishnamurti.

If Meditation really is the seeing of what is and going beyond it then what you have to see with great clarity of perception is all the discursive thought and emotion that is taking place within your mind and psyche. Only in the seeing of it can you take the next step by discovering what lies just beyond it.

You have to discover, see what is, taking place within the thinking mind with perfect clarity of perception before you can go beyond it into another level of being or perception.

You can’t jump levels of being or perception, they have to be experienced one at a time, in sequential order. So first you have to see, then you can go beyond. So, begin with meditation in the form of self-observation, and remember, no one can do it for you. In the end you are the One, there is no other . . although you are not alone, there are those who have gone before you . . . and they are here to guide you home.

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