By Suma Varughese
What am I if I were free of identification with all thoughts and feelings and bodily pleasures and pain? wonders Suma Varughese
|Suma Varughese is a thinker, writer, seeker, latent crusader and Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org|
I have often thought that spiritual growth is like a computer game. You keep doing your thing and finally, unexpectedly, you are promoted to a new level and everything, everything, changes, even though the circumstances remain exactly the same.
One such promotion came my way about a month back. It had been a horrible day. I had had confrontations with my mother’s care-giver at home and a colleague at work. As the day wore on, I found myself slipping into a negative spiral of thoughts of anger, guilt, resentment, frustration and so on. My mood got heavier and heavier and by the time I was ready to walk to the station, I felt as if I had iron chains around me.
However, right through the day the thought would occasionally come into my mind that none of this was actually relevant, but the heaviness of the mood would eclipse it and I would be engulfed once more by my feelings. As I walked along though, I decided to investigate those thought wisps. Why was what I was feeling or thinking irrelevant? Then it hit me. All these were the products of the mind, and spiritual wisdom said that I was not the mind. In that case what did I have to do with this mental stuff? Why did I need to even bother with it? It had nothing to with me.
Wondrously, with that one thought, I found I could simply shrug off my thoughts and feelings, instead of justifying them, resisting them, reframing them, healing them, watching them, identifying with them and whatever else I have usually done with my mental stuff.
I walked on as light as a feather, completely free of all the baggage that had so troubled and tormented me right through the day.
So who was I without this thing I called my mind, I asked myself. It was a curious experience watching myself as I rejected all thoughts and feelings as irrelevant. How suddenly stark and simple things were. What if my mind had not been there when I had confronted my maid or the colleague? It was clear that without the resisting and hurt-producing mechanism
|I walked on as light as a feather, free of all the baggage that had so troubled and tormented me right through the day.|
of the mind, the experiences would simply have been reduced to the maid and the colleague being themselves. If the mind were not there to react, to judge, to resist and to protect itself, nothing they did would have mattered to me. From a calm and detached perspective I would have been available to them and probably settled their issues without taking anything personally.
Without the mind, there is nothing to take personally, I am realising. Bus coming late? Nothing to do with me. Auto guy acting up? Nothing to do with me. Getting stuck in a lift (my pet phobia)? Nothing to do with me. Falling ill? Nothing to do with me. Crisis at work? Nothing to do with me.
This then is my present spiritual practice. Simply refusing to take my thought and feelings seriously or even the body’s pleasures and pains.
These are still early days and I am still very much at the mercy of my mind – which is still producing misery for myself and others. But for precious moments I am able to feel the lightness of no-mind. To be free of the pesky mind – the source of all the misery I have ever experienced? Please God, make it soon.
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