Mastery over the Mind - Flowing with existence
Like a solitary tree in the middle of a desert, planet earth is an oasis of life and greenery in an endless expanse of frozen and seemingly lifeless space. Earth is barely a blip on the gigantic scale of the universe, yet forces of nature such as gravity, the spin of the earth, the gravitational pull of the moon and earth’s atmosphere have been working in concert for millions of years to sustain life on earth. From the standpoint of existence, each individual life form although highly dispensable, are equally important. Every creature comes with a physical frame that is equipped to quickly adapt to its local environment. Although individual forms within a species may be similar, the unifying factor is the life-sustaining energy permeating every living cell, the fundamental building blocks of life. The mind also depends on energy, which may be coming from the same source that permeates the physical structure. We are yet to invent a device to measure the energy flow in the human mind. That day may not be far away. Although the mind is ultimately dependent on energy from elsewhere, it breaks with existence and treads a different path.
Unlike what we experience of the mind, existence has no desire or expectations. Existence flows freely, no single form of life can imprison or contain it. In contrast, the mind is like a stagnant lake with well-protected banks. The edges of the such a lake may be compared to desires and expectations, and the water made be compared to awareness which is trapped. We make the choice, consciously or unconsciously to freely flow with existence or to remain stagnant with the mind and tossed around through fluctuating nature.
The body may be thought of as a smartphone and the mind as a phone’s SIM card. Just as without a SIM, a smartphone, however expensive may not be useful, without a conscious mind the body cannot independently function and is of no use to experience life. Just as a SIM is a medium through which we connect to the electromagnetic spectrum, the energy of which infuses “life” into the compact package of a cell phone’s hardware; the mind is also a medium for transmission of energy. Energy in its pure state is not evident in the mind, however, and this is due to the obstructing nature of thoughts. Electromagnetic energy is also very evident in the human body as seen in the electrical impulses carried by the nervous system to every cell of the body. Without this life-giving energy, the mind disappears and however beautiful its companion the body may be, it becomes a rapidly decaying corpse.
There is an infinite amount of electromagnetic energy and in spite of “heavy usage” through billions of human forms every second, it is as vibrant as it has always been since the beginning of time. The vibrancy of the physical body cannot be maintained forever and the depletion of energy corresponds with the rise of the mind. When mental activity spikes, especially towards negative thoughts, physical exhaustion quickly sets in. Life energy filters through the mind and if the “pores” of the mind are blocked with stagnant thought, this energy cannot push through those blocks just as flowing water cannot penetrate a rock. A rigid mind is like a stone that maintains its color, texture, and size. It is hard to change such a mind unless life deals heavy blows which may be very difficult to withstand. A supple mind, in contrast, is open, unconditioned and functions to its highest potential when the need arises, and retreats into dormancy when not needed. Such a mind may be compared to standing water. Just as standing pool of water does not stand in the way of flowing water but gives into the flow and joins it, a supple mind flows with and does not obstruct energy that animates the mind. It is receptive to a higher and purer form of energy that is not found in thoughts.
When we are asleep, the mind is in it’s least conditioned state and is a passive conduit for the flow of energy. Perhaps that is why we are so energetic and refreshed upon waking up first thing in the morning. As the mind becomes more and more active during the day, there is the danger of it becoming rigid. An active mind that is susceptible to becoming rigid overindulges in thoughts beyond short-lived meaningful and useful interactions. Thoughts are not meant to stick. Thoughts by nature, behave like clouds which may obstruct the sky but can do nothing to leave a stain. When we tether them through identification, we change their flowing characteristics and they become stagnant. Just as stagnant water may breed disease-causing mosquitoes and other insects, neutral flowing thoughts can be a source of negativity when they stagnate. Just as we wake up with a clean slate of a mind it is important to retire to bed with as clear a mind as possible. One way to do this is to engage the mind in creative pursuits. To be creative is to be aware. Ideas that would otherwise slip by unnoticed are easily identified by one who maintains a state of conscious awareness. When the mind is not creating, it slips into “recreating”, usually the past.
Creativity implies fluidity and flexibility and more often than not the impetus comes not from accumulated knowledge from the past but from spontaneous inspiration. This does not tax the mind, on the other hand, it relaxes the mind and makes it sharper and more attentive. Creative inspiration comes easily when the mind is set aside and we start to “flow” with existence. The mind is like an anchor that keeps us directionally engaged giving us a narrow view of existence. There are infinite expressions and dimensions of existence and the mind does not have the bandwidth to encompass all of them. A direct glimpse into the multidimensional quality of existence may come when awareness is freed from identity with thoughts.
Just as a river does not pause it's flow at nighttime, the energy of existence flows day and night. When certain thoughts become persistent features in the conscious realm of the mind, they may become sources of turbulence in the mind. Thoughts by themselves do not obstruct the flow of life. It is how we interact with them that determines that. What starts off as a transient wave, when held onto turns into a “particle” that then crystallizes with other similar thoughts eventually forming an “immovable rock” in the mind.
A lump of clay and a stone interact with a flowing stream of water very differently. Unlike a stone, soft clay easily melts and disappears in flowing water. As individuals, we have the choice to conform or to obstruct. This choice is made in the mind. When our mind is flexible and in tune with the bigger picture of life, we become like a piece of soft clay, melting into the current of life. However, inflexible, thoughts turn into a fossilized rock that constantly churns the smooth flowing current of life. This churning of the mind destroys inner peace. A rock that is placed in a flowing river has no chance of reaching the sea downstream. However, when a lump of clay dissolves in that same flowing water, some part of it may be carried to where the river joins the sea.
Preventing the daily accumulation of thoughts may be unavoidable. It takes a tremendous amount of effort, at least initially to maintain a non attached state and witness the constant swirling winds of thoughts. Just as water flows through cracks between rocks, awareness flows in spaces between “stone-like” thoughts that remain stationary in our mind. Flowing through life with awareness instead of getting anchored by thoughts will help us dissolve into existence.