Not minding the mind



September 2017

By Suma Varughese

Slowly and gradually through constant practise, the Higher Self is gaining control over the capricious mind, says Suma Varughese

The hardest challenge on the spiritual path is to disassociate with the mind. The mind is so all-pervasive that even the thought of disassociating with it can seem like a chimera. How can you disassociate with something that is an intimate part of your every moment? It notes, it remembers, it interprets, it plans, it fantasises, it feels. In short, it orchestrates our life.

And yet at the same time, it is responsible for every iota of misery we have ever experienced. It takes everything personally; it schemes, manipulates, registers hurt, anger, envy and malice; it loops you into thoughts that hark back on the past or fastforward to the future; and it builds up a self-image (ego) based on what people tell us we are, how we show up in life, or our psychological need. It oscillates compulsively between resistance of the unpleasant and craving for the pleasant. It is the crucible of desires that wrenches us from the path of growth and goodness. It is the constant buzz of thoughts, feelings and resistance to them that keeps us from making contact with who we actually are - a soul drenched in peace and joy, immune to the mayhem and madness of the mind.
Well, I rest my case.

And yet the task is far from easy. Constant sadhana of whatever nature, will slowly distance us from the cacophony and bring us within sniffing distance of the Higher Self. The task is to take on the role of a witness, being aware of the mind’s antics without being sucked into it.
I have come to understand that if I want real self-control, I have to vacate the mind. If I take its fears and reactions seriously, I will inevitably take its temptations seriously. It has to be all or nothing.

I am far from being there, but I have been slowly learning to take the mind less seriously, to pay less heed to the constant worry and anxiety that hums in the background, to ignore the many temptations it whispers in my ears, to turn a deaf ear to the constant buzz of thoughts. I reiterate my constant commitment to being in the moment and to focus on the happiness of the other.
The result is definitely a greater self-control. I am no longer given to fulfilling the mind’s every whim, whether it is watching TV while having lunch, or having tempting morsel of forbidden food. Equally, I am also learning to quail less over the fears it drums up and to be less affected by its reactions and resistances. I am learning to take its moods less seriously and to be less pulled into its unending loops of thoughts. When a notification for a Whatsapp message comes, I am less tempted to check it. I no longer buy all the doom-ridden scenarios it flashes into my mind.

There are moments when I automatically connect with my navel and breathe from there, which instantly seems to
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