The MIND

THE PASS

 The MIND

For years and years, I identified myself with my mind. I thought I was the mind. What a surprise when I discovered I was not! It changed everything. It was a big relief for me because as a teenager, despite being one of the smartest kids at school, I believed myself crazy. There was incessant chatter in my head, most of it unnecessary thoughts of fear and worry, and I didn`t know if it was the same for other people. That chatter was driving me insane, I wanted to go and see a psychiatrist sometimes. But it seemed that everybody found me ‘normal’, and I was doing pretty well at what I was undertaking. So I started assuming that it was just the way to be, and that I would be an overactive thinker for the rest of my life, no respite. As the French philosopher Descartes was saying: ‘I think, therefore I am’. I had no idea how wrong we both were! What a relief it was for me the first time I experienced a few minutes with absolutely no thought. Complete silence. It was so peaceful! And yet I was still alive. I still existed. I could feel myself be in the absence of the mind. That`s when it hit me: I AM even when I don`t think, therefore I am not my mind! To rephrase Descartes I could say: ‘When I do not think, there I am’. Furthermore, I was feeling more myself in this moment than when I was thinking! That changed my life. That`s when I started meditating even more so as to find that space again, that peace, and so as to start controlling my mind. That is when I really started living.

 

THE MIND AS A COMPUTER

 

So what is the mind? The mind is like a computer, storing and processing data on its hard drive. Then analysing, comparing, and offering solutions to situations. For example, when I see a flame, straight away the mind may think: flame- fire- heat- careful- burnt hand at seven years of age- painful- could burn now- third degree burn- ambulance- hospital- staying away from flame! All this in a split second. Amazing! My experience and knowledge about fire will prevent me getting burnt each time I see a flame, and at the same time it offers me possible scenarios if I choose to get in contact with it. The mind sees what is in the present. Then, it compares it with what it knows happened in the past, or with what it learned in books, with people, school or society. Then it gives us all this data in thought forms, impressions or feelings. And finally it diverges on possible future scenarios according to all this information. That is why when we are listening to the mind, we find ourselves in the past or a probable future. It is really an amazing tool which is here to help us survive in a physical body in this third dimensional world. The problem is that we forget that it is just that, a tool, a computer. Over the years we put effort into making it strong, sharp and intelligent. Unfortunately, we overuse it and we forget to turn it off. Now the most common problem in the world is an overactive mind and people`s identification with it. It`s like having a TV inside our heads which is turned on all day long, and we can`t stop ourselves from watching it. After a while we even forget that we are actually separate from it. This is the biggest illusion, the identification with the mind. Most diseases of the modern world are related to this confusion: depression, compulsive disorders, anxiety, stress, etc. And taking medication or going to see a psychiatrist or psychologist won`t do any good, because you cannot fix the mind. The mind IS THE PROBLEM. The only medication that will heal these issues is Meditation, because it is the only way to get rid of THE problem.

 

UNDERSTAND YOUR MIND

The first step to understand the mind is to watch it. Pay attention to it. Notice how it works. Follow the strand of your thoughts. Try to remember what triggered your thought patterns. Why are you thinking what you are thinking now? What was your first thought, your first sentence, your first word, etc? Look at your thoughts. Watch them from a distance. Be the observer. Don`t try to understand them, just be aware of them. Look and listen to them as if you were watching a movie, the fictional movie of your imagination. Try to notice the patterns. Try to notice the repetitions. Try to notice how that mind of yours is functioning.

 

THE MIND AND ASSOCIATIONS

The mind works with associations. You see something that makes you think about another thing which reminds you of something else which…it is a jumping monkey. For example, you see a blue flower. You may think: this is a blue flower- it`s beautiful – I love blue- it looks like the one my mum used to have in her garden- it`s been a long time since I called her- wonder if she found the key she was looking for- that reminds me that I need to pick up my car keys at Kate`s later- then I will need to get something for dinner- a roast would be great- but it takes too long to cook- let`s have mashed potatoes instead- yes that`s good, I’ll have more time to watch my TV show…You are still looking at the flower, but you are gone with the mind. The flower is real, it is what IS NOW, but the mind is not. You left reality to follow an illusion. And this happens all the time, indeed it never stops.

 

THE MIND AND LABELING

The mind works at labelling. The mind loves to notice and label things which you are seeing with your physical eyes: a blue/ beautiful/ small/ big/ funny/ etc flower, a car, a tree, a bus, oh it`s raining, etc. It likes putting adjective to the material world it sees depending on your experience, subjectivity or perception. It also comments on what/ how your body is feeling in the moment: it`s hot/ cold/ humid/ etc. It transfers physical data to your conscious self so you can act accordingly, like putting a sweater on if you`re cold. It will always describe and label what your senses perceive of the outside world. It is a computer, it processes information.

 

THE MIND AND READING

The mind loves reading things. Whatever your eyes get in contact with, your mind will try to read if you don`t consciously stop it. For example the billboards in the streets, even if you take the same road every day, if you look at the board you will have the slogan being said inside your head straight away (great for advertising!). That is also why every morning, while you are eating your cereals, you are reading what`s in the pack if it is right in front you, even if you have been eating the same cereals for years and they haven`t changed the ingredients. The mind will always be looking for something to read, while you`re eating, while you`re walking, while you`re on public transport, etc. It will always try to remove you from the experience you are having right now. It will prevent you from focusing on your present reality, and reading is one of its escape tricks.

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THE MIND AND TIME

The mind loves to go over the past and sometimes change it. It loves to remember the past, good times or not, like watching a movie over and over again. Then it loves to think about what would have happened if someone might have done this instead of that, if someone might have said that instead of this, or what someone should have done or not done, should have said or not said…The mind also loves to plan the future. It is always concerned about what we should do, don`t do, what could go wrong and why. It loves its ‘what to do’ list: what we ‘have to’ do tomorrow or next week, which day, what time, etc. It likes organizing, planning, making lists and when something is finally done from the list, something else suddenly appears…always busy!

It is a computer, gathering, analysing data and offering solutions. It never stops. It is restless. We made it that way. It will only exist in time, in the past or in the future, and it will always try to escape the present, because in the NOW the mind is not.

 This is an excerpt from 7 Illusions

28 thoughts on “The MIND

  1. I love this post for many reasons: I have been right there. Some of the worst times of my life were when my mind was on fire. I used to say that I could run a power plant with it. For years I never knew there was a label for it, I never knew that people didn’t live like that all the time, maybe I never thought anyone else could live like that. I do have a disorder, I do take medication because medication helps me – but it isn’t for everyone, and I understand that. I’ve been going to therapy trying to meditate for awhile now and I can’t find the switch to turn it off. I have to trick myself into turning it off. Thanks for making me feel like I’m not alone and like there is still hope for finding that switch.

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  2. Beautiful. Thank you for this. Nice to see other people “watching their thoughts”. I also see the mind as being like a computer. And we have “apps”. For example, someone may go to school to download the “Accountant” app. Then they can run that app until they retire. Also, our “computer mind” can have viruses, like the “worry” virus. I guess we could look at anti-depressants as putting the mind into a bit of a quarantine so we can better address the viruses (limiting/negative thought patterns). I noticed you are against them, but they have kind of speed boosted my progress. However, I do believe they are a crutch, not a permanent solution. 🙂

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    • yes you are right, some people may need extra help with medication, also I believe it won`t heal the problem, just the cause. But anything is better than nothing when we are unwell. It`s great if we can combine them with natural medicine/ alternative healing/ healthy eating and meditation 🙂

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  3. With regards to Descartes, and his ‘I think, therefore I am’, why bother with the ‘I’ at all? ‘Thoughts are being thunk’….
    I have been practising mindfulness for about 2 years. I now find it very easy to enter a state of deep relaxation, and thoroughly enjoy paying attention to, and noticing what arises in my conciousness, moment by moment. Mindfulness helped me overcome a terrible eating/anxiety disorder that had plagued me for nearly a decade. I cannot recommend it enough, and have written about my experiences in depth here: http://scienceinourlives.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/why-i-meditate/
    Despite the amazing mental health benefits of mindfulness, I do feel as though I have hit a barrier with my meditation, as very rarely can I escape the voice inside my head for more than a few moments at a time. I am much more mindful of bodily sensations, and feel more compassionate with myself generally, (which is wonderful in itself) but I would love to notice thoughts come and go (particularly language), without getting caught up in it, as others often report to be able to do. I find it difficult. Do you have any tips? 🙂

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    • Glad to hear about your positive experience with mindfulness and congratulations on healing yourself with it.
      As regards to tips, I can only suggest more meditation practice :). Maybe alternate different techniques too. I found it really helpful myself to alternate mindfulness meditations with visualizations meditations. One technique develops a clear focused mind, the other brings a no-mind state. I found there are both equally important. Maybe my ebook “Meditation Workout” would help you, I share 30 different meditation techniques in it. You can find it on my page.
      Keep on meditating and thank you for your input 🙂

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  4. You have a beautiful mind! I love how it works. It reminds me of one of those flashy, neon-colored Macs they released years ago.

    My mind doesn’t work by itself. I always have psychics and spirits in my set thinking for me. Their thoughts are the source of my thoughts. I wonder how my brain would work by itself. Maybe it would be as orderly as yours?

    I love how you describe your mind functioning!

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  5. Reblogged this on Let me tell U a story and commented:
    A great post, and one which I will be reblogging as part of a depression support project called dealing with the Blues. Yourwriting is clear and incisive, so if you would like to bve a aguest authort on the site as regards this project, just let me know

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  6. Hi Karen

    A great post. You might like to know taht i have reblogged this as part of a depression support project at bublicksblog.org. Your writing is clear and incisive, so if you are interested in being a guest author so as to help other suffering from mental illness, just lket me know

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you very much for re-blogging my post and your invitation to become a guest author, I could consider it later on. In the meantime you are welcome to re-blog any of my posts that you think would help other suffering from mental illness. Thank you for the good work you are doing. Kind Regards. Karen

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  8. Pingback: You were always on my MIND…a repost. | Life With a Plus Sign

  9. An excellent post that I found when you liked a recent one of mine. Thank you for that. Your “jumping monkey” of Mind and Associations is just brilliant. I have tried to explain this for myself over several decades now. Your summation is lucid and on-point. Since childhood, I have been fascinated by the process of getting to a particular thought…I liked to track them back to the first one. The progression for me happens in lightning speed. When I wake up in the a.m., I am bombarded by ideas. Recording some of them, writing down the prompt, has been of huge benefit in my creative writing process. It has resulted in the blog that I just can’t write fast enough…I have found my outlet.
    I truly look forward to exploring your site. How wonderful to meet ! Van

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  10. Very interesting post and I like your thoughts on the famous Descartes quote. I think, therefore there must be a ME that does the thinking separate from the process of thinking!! Great idea and a good reminder to keep the constant brain chatter in perspective.

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  11. Pingback: The Power of Mind | IshKishMish

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