Taming the Mind

The human mind literally has a mind of its own.  Like a wild monkey swinging from branch to branch, our minds are always shifting from thought to thought, never settling on any particular thought for very long. At this moment your mind may be focusing on this sentence. The next moment your mind may attend to the hunger pangs in your stomach, or drift off into a daydream about a future event, or relive a memory of an past experience.  Thoughts flicker on and off.  Behind the screen of consciousness lurks the potential for joy, fear, anger, anxiety and other emotions that may be activated at any time by the right conditions.

As long as our minds are preoccupied with the constant chatter of thoughts, memories, concerns, fear, anger, and so on, we are not living in the present moment. If our present experience is really a memory of the moment that already had passed, or a projection into the future, then our lives will have been lived as a sort of waking dream. To live in the present is to be alive, to be awakened this dream state.

When was the last time that you took a deep breath and felt how wonderful it was to breathe?  Being able to enjoy breathing is a moment of mindfulness because the mind is attuned to the experience of being alive. Breathing is the most precious gift of life, yet it is one that we normally take for granted.  We usually take this gift for granted because our minds are always grasping to something else. Rarely do we live in the present.

The human mind literally has a mind of its own.  Like a wild monkey swinging from branch to branch, our minds are always shifting from thought to thought, never settling on any particular thought for very long.

Mindfulness is the art of becoming more present in our moment-to-moment existence.   It is the mental state of being fully engaged in whatever we are presently doing, of attuning our awareness to what is happening right here right now.  Our primary focus is to maintain a calm, attentive, nonjudgmental state of heightened awareness. When we are mindful, we are keenly aware of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations as they unfold, but we do not cling to them. 

Mindfulness anchors the mind to the present moment, so that it does not wander away with memories, expectations, regrets, fears, and so on. When phenomena arise, either from an internal or external source, mindfulness allows us to see it as it really is.  Our perception is normally passed through filters of judgment, analysis, association, labeling, another linear processes the mind. 

Through mindfulness, our life experiences become richer and fuller. We learn to see more clearly, listen more attentively, taste more discerningly, smell more acutely, and touch more fully.  It is in this exquisite state of heightened receptivity that our true nature reveals itself to us.  By simply living in the present moment, we gain an experiential knowledge of being alive. 

Mindfulness allows us to become more present in own lives and to directly participate in the creation of own reality.  Every moment in life becomes immensely sacred, and our ordinary life experiences are magically transformed into our spiritual guide.

We may think that we are already mindful and present in our lives, but this is just another trick fabricated by our mind to keep us in a dream state.  Our minds have an uncanny ability to weave our fleeting sensations, memories, thoughts, emotions into a coherent story that reinforces our false sense of a permanent, unchanging ego.  We cling to our ego at all costs, even at the expense of seeing things as they really are. Through sustained practice of mindfulness, we gradually awaken from the dream (or nightmare) in which we have lived most of our lives.  The calm, expanded awareness that builds up over time illuminates every aspect of our conscious experience and awakens us to our True Essence.

Mindfulness anchors the mind to the present moment, so that it does not wander away with memories, expectations, regrets, fears, and so on.

Mindfulness adds a new layer of awareness to our conscious experience. Mindfulness is awareness of the arising and passing of our thoughts and feelings.  The question that arises, there is watcher that monitors our arising and passing of our transient thoughts and feelings.  Here it is important to point out that the watcher and the watching are one and the same.

Mindfulness the quality of profound receptivity and acceptance.  Seeing things as they are means accepting things as they are. This is not to be confused with accepting mediocrity and resigning to failure.  Rather, it is about accepting the facts of the present moment, accepting the present the circumstance.  We recognize that resistance brings stress, wasteful expenditure of energy.  If we are work with changes instead of resisting them, the energy that otherwise would be spent on stress would be freed up for creative and constructive endeavors. Mindfulness also promotes a calm, tranquil mental state.  This comes from the lifting of the burden of calculation, analysis, etc. to the experience. This is the economy of silence.

Mindfulness is somewhat of a misnomer because the state is not confined to the mind alone. An essential quality of mindfulness is heartfulness. Mindfulness is a wholistic experience which brings elements that normally relegated to the background to the forefront.  It is important to understand that everything we cannot isolated from motivations and feelings, so nothing in our experience is can be considered purely intellectual.  Mindfulness confers wholesomeness to our conscious experience. In fact, mindfulness, the mind and body are better viewed as inseparable and to a large extent indistinguishable from each other.  It is better thought as a mind/body complex rather than separate entities. It brings to our awareness factors that normally reside in the background. When every aspect of our being is brought into awareness, we are able to address the totality of our being.  so the state may be termed wholesomeness. but the body as a whole.

Mindfulness is not a state of doing or suppressing.  Suppressing a thought takes effort.  The mind has to struggle to avoid getting involved in a thought.  Mindfulness is the art of nondoing.  Quite the opposite it is a process of undoing and letting go.  Letting things take their course. Rather, the mind is receptive to whatever phenomena that may arise.  It acknowledge their arising and witness their disappearance.  Passivity does should not require effort.  If in the attempt to stay mindful, we fail to let thoughts pass, do not fret or blame yourself.  Just let it go.  Maybe we lost the last hour in mindlessness.  We need not spend the next 10 minutes regretting our failure, or anything like that.  The idea is stay in the present moment.  If you discover that you have not been  mindfulness for the last hour or days, be happy that you finally realize and build on your mindful state.

Mindfulness is the art of non-doing, non-judging, non-grasping, non-associating, non-labeling.  The goal is to simply be. Observe with interest everything that arises.  As we will see later, non-doing does not necessarily mean doing nothing.  If everything is passed through the filter of thought to decide what is interesting and what is not, most of our moments will have been lost.  Experience the richness of every moment that unfolds.  When we awaken to the present moment, we realize on experiential level the sanctity of each moment. We recognize that every single moment of our existence is immensely sacred and should not be taken for granted.   

Mindfulness often leads to pleasant mental states, such as calm, oneness, and even rapture. is dwelling in calm.  We reach a deep calm is possible through mindfulness. Mindfulness facilitates the attainment of insight, concentration, and wisdom.

Mindfulness is state of being completely honest with oneself.  We need not advertise or confess our shortcomings to others.  Being honest with oneself is about coming to terms with any secrets that may be kept in our closets or medicine cabinets. We feel comfortable with our own shortcomings and limitation, and the limitations of others.  We we are able to accept, if not embrace, our own limitations, we will accept change and uncertainty inherent in life.  Once we are comfortable with our own limitations and the limitations of the eternal world, we are then able to take concrete steps to make positive changes in our lives.  If, on the other hand, we continue to deny these limitations, we cling to distorted views and false hope.  then we will trap ourselves in a cycle of denial, blame, self-pity, and so on.  Shaky fabriculation of stability continue to be the source of our troubles. Mindfulness is a skill like riding a bicycle.  You may spend your entire lives reading books on the physics of riding a bike and never learn how to ride one. No amount of intellectualizing and theorizing will substitute for practice. Yet learning to be mindful is much simpler than learning to ride a bike. Just take a deep breath and feel yourself present in your own body.  That’s it. Mindfulness is the state we are in when we actively inhabit our own bodies.