By quieting the mind and bringing it to a state of wholeness, the mind reveals its deep intelligence.
Spiritual culture often depicts the mind as the bad guy. We often recognize the mind as the source of our disconnection and the instrument that scatters and shatters our sense of well-being. In meditation, we move toward a quiet and disengaged mind. The Yoga Sutras tell us right upfront that our mission is to “unthink.” Swami Satchidananda translates verse two of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras this way: “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.”
And yet, we think as naturally as we breathe. We think incessantly. So, how do we go from automatic thinking to no thinking?
It helps to have a ramp. It helps to have a system that allows the mind to think, and yet, by its thinking, it leads to no thinking. Or more integrated thinking. Or more “whole” thinking.
Rather than screeching on the brakes and crashing into your thoughts at high speed, it helps to have a way to gradually and naturally decelerate your thoughts so that you glide into higher states of awareness in mediation.
By approaching the mind in a nonresistant mood, we immediately dissolve one of its biggest obstacles. In fact, it is the mind that has decided that the mind is a problem!
Here are three steps you can take to begin the process of preparation for mediation. With this approach, you achieve greater wisdom and more precise intelligence. As you honor your mind and treat it with love and respect, it reveals its true brilliance.
Recognize that you are your world. The Upanishads urge us to recognize all beings in the self and the self in all beings. Contemplate this notion as you interact with your neighbors and your family. Take on this challenge as you read the newspaper or when you consider your political leaders. This practice dissolves blame. Blame feeds the conflicted mind. The less the mind has to blame, the more peaceful the mind becomes. As the mind becomes an instrument of peace, so does your world.
Speak your truth. This is not to be confused with reporting about conditions. Just because something terrible may have happened, it is not necessarily your truth to speak about it. Your truth can be found in words that feel like nectar as they flow from your lips. They soothe a difficult situation. They uplift you and others. You can recognize their truth because everyone within earshot feels better from having heard them. These are words of truth.
Know when to keep silent. If speaking something that seems to be your truth will cause harm or injury to yourself or another, that is the time to remain quiet. Step two (speak your truth) does not command you to go around telling everyone everything you don’t like about them. Knowing when to hold your tongue (and enjoying the deliberate silence) is a cause and an effect of wisdom.
By approaching the mind with honor, friendship, and respect, we bring its chaotic and conflicted waves of activity into a harmonious and beneficial hum. I like to call this song of the mind “meditative intelligence.”
Copyright (c) 2006 Rebbie Straubing