The undisciplined have no wisdom,
No one-pointed concentration;
With no concentration, no peace;
With no peace, where can joy be?
When the mind constantly runs
After the wandering senses,
It drives away wisdom, like the wind
Blowing a ship off course
The mind, contemporary spiritual literature tells us, is the true creative power of the universe. It is through the mind, that everything comes into being. We have this power, this creative energy within us. Our power to think, to use the mind, determines the success and happiness, or otherwise, of our lives. And so we must keep our thoughts positive, focused on what we want to bring into being, and we must avoid negative thinking, negative words. The law of attraction will then see to it that whatever we desire, and concentrate on, will come into our lives. Even more effective and efficient will the manifestation of our desires be, the law says, if we bring the power of our emotions together with our thoughts.
Our thoughts however, are not all powerful. In fact, they are illusory. They are illusory because they are impermanent and therefore unreal…..as everything in the phenomenal world is. The ‘mind’ is a collection of thoughts that come and go, sometimes it is our ally, at others, our foe. Our thoughts have no existence in reality, they are no more real than a dream. Reality is the truth that our essence is at one with the One – the higher Consciousness.
We have a mind, just as we have a body and a personality – but these are temporary, finite concerns. Our essence is infinite. It is part of the ‘Overself’ (or Higher Consciousness System). Thus, the mind and the thoughts that use it, are simply borrowed, as everything in the universe is, from the Overself. The life-current that moves through us, and keeps us alive, is lent to us and because it is temporary and finite – it is not real.
Within us, within the heart centre, the Overself (call it God if you will) lives. If we are moved to desire a relationship with our heart of hearts, several qualities are called for. Standing head and shoulders above all others, is stillness. Intense stillness and peace are requisites to make known the presence, within each of us, of the only true reality we have. Stillness is asked of us, because without it, the mind, our thoughts, carry us away from the presence. It is so close, as close as our physical hearts – closer…..yet how distant it is from most of us in this life, in this world.
In this world the mind, tool of the ego, dominates. The mind can become our ally, if we are disciplined enough to set aside time each day for stillness. As we turn away from the world, turn the powers of our concentrated effort inwards, on the heart centre – if we are lucky, we will, sooner or later, experience the pure peace and happiness of connecting with the Overself within.
As we redirect our gaze from the outer to the inner, we very naturally, and with time and some practice, become the witnesses of our ‘lives in the world.’ A natural detachment brings with it the gift of peace. It is not to be avoided, as some sort of aloof, cold, uninvolved state of being, but rather it is a quality to be sought, bringing as it does, along with peace, a greater connection with truth.
I am talking about the truth that runs like an unseen, underground river, through the affairs and lives of us all, flowing beneath the seemingly solid ground of the material world and its preoccupations with appearance and dubious values in service of egoic needs for security and survival. The river of truth flows quietly, so quietly that nothing but absolute stillness, of mind, of thought, of body, are necessary, in order to sense its presence.
Truth is knowing what is real, and what is unreal. The rewards of a practice of stillness, of turning inward, are those sought by every human who has walked the planet: peace and happiness. Finding truth, we find peace. The gambler, the drunkard, the stressed business executive, the freedom fighter – all are seeking the same thing. It is happiness we want. And peace we crave. Happiness may be mistakenly imagined to lie in the next promotion, the next successful deal or the next drink. And what is the route by which such mistakes of the imagination are made? The mind, and the thoughts – tools of the ego.
Think for a moment (ah yes, the mind is the ultimate paradox – our enemy and our saviour)… on this: all the desires, intentions, goals, ambitions, hopes and wishes that you have ever entertained – have any of them brought you lasting happiness? We all know, if we are reasonably conscious, that happiness is at best a temporary state. It comes and goes as moods, thoughts, emotions, changes in the world and our lives come and go. And this is where thought has got us. The stereotypical miserable, miserly rich man, the suicidal, drug addicted movie/rock star, the cardiac arrested businessman……clearly, the collective’s quest for happiness is somehow missing the mark.
As we shift our concentration, from the world, to our heart centre, the fog begins to clear. We realize the truth of the temporal nature of this life. Everything is a passing parade: our joy, our fear, the people we love, our successes, our failures, our pleasure, our pain. As our relationship with the Overself deepens – we do not lose our capacity to experience any of the richness that life’s passing parade offers us……but what we gain is this: the ability to detach from it. We detach our identification with it all; with the roles we play, the job we do, the state of our health, our joys and pains and pleasures as well.
Why does this happen? It happens because we come to know the truth. We know that destiny will always give us both, pleasure and pain, in this world of duality – no matter how many precautions we take. And we know that who we think we are, is not in fact, who we are. We are not these personalities, these minds, these bodies. Everything we think we are is seen as a garment we choose to wear for a while. But we know that at the end of the day, or the end of the story, or the end of this life, we will take off the garment and stand naked and true. We can choose to put on another garment, live a different story, take a new incarnation. And behind all of it, the drama of it all, quietly waiting for us to make its acquaintance, is our true self, the Overself that lies within and beyond this body-mind human being.
And so yes, we can use our minds, we can create with them, we can shape our lives to a degree, with them. But we have a higher mind, with a capacity to become more conscious, more self-aware. Let us use it. Ultimately, it is our minds, through making the conscious effort to become more conscious, that will enable us to escape the wheel of rebirth. Using the mind to manifest our desires and intentions in the material world may be worthy, in some respects, but it is not real. Our thoughts are impermanent, they are illusory, they are like dreams. What is real lies within our hearts and it has the power to bestow the greatest, most elusive, most desired states of being – happiness and peace. Perhaps now is a good time to begin the practice of stillness. We have nothing to lose, but our discontent.