One of my favorite aspects of teaching yoga is the guided meditation I create for my students in the beginning of class. I still have so many questions about the mind and how thoughts work to serve me in my life. This is what I have gathered so far. May this post inspire you to explore the inner workings of your own mind.
What is the point of meditation?
I tell my students that the mind is designed to think thoughts. Thoughts are temporary. They come and go. There is no need to judge the thoughts. Just acknowledge the contents and bring their attention back to their breath. Feel for any tension in their body and flood that tension with breath, allowing each breath to release the tension. Feel how the breath is being received by the body.
You may think you’re the creator of your thoughts, but you are not. You think the thoughts in your mind. You have a habit of thinking the kinds of thoughts you think. But how they popped into your mind is a match to the vibrational mental state that you’re in. Thus, the point of meditation is to stop the momentum of whatever kind of thoughts you are attracting. The good ones and even the bad ones because that is only based on your own judgement. Practice stopping thoughts because it trains your mind to not be attached and react to everything you think. Thought is no more than a flicker of momentary energy, but you can expand on it if you choose to. Meditate so you can gain clarity, which is not the absence of all thoughts, but rather the awareness of the thoughts and the awareness of your current state of mind. You can only start from the acceptance of knowing where you are mentally, physically and emotionally.
It is when you believe a thought to be true or judge yourself for thinking a particular thought to be right or wrong that you start building the momentum of having that become your reality. This is when you become emotionally invested in a thought.
For example, if you think of something extremely scary, say the image of the girl from The Ring. She is crawling towards you. It is as if you are literally experiencing that horror of the movie and that thought brings up fear in you. Even though you’re not even watching the movie and she’s no where near you! (Sorry for the extreme example, it’s just to help you see how you can make a situation a “reality” with your mind/ thought even though it is not physically in your reality.)
With practice, you can reach a sense of clarity and calmness and get a taste of your true nature and essence. Of the divine being that you are. That you are the creator of your reality through your mind and thoughts.
What is the function of the mind?
You may think you are your mind, but that is not the whole truth. You may associate your intelligence with your mind, but that is so far from the truth. Through socialization, your mind learned the best way to keep you alive. It learned how to form a self image that you “think” is you because that is what works to gain approval and love from your family, how to make friends in school and how to be acceptable in society. The mind created your self image, or your ego. You have belief systems about everything, your ideas about love, ideas of success, how you need to earn money, etc., but you have the power to change them if that is what you want.
If you’re the kind of person who says, “I’m the kind of person who does this..” or “I’m the sort of person who would never…” basically love to associate your identity as a fixed, aspect, you are the kind of person who definitely needs to practice meditation and tap into who you really are and detach from the self image that your mind has created. I dare you to challenge your beliefs about yourself. There is no “one” you that you have to keep playing as yourself. There is no consistent version of you. Unless you consistently believe it. The essence of you can’t even be described in words. There is no label that can box you so why not unleash yourself from all your own constructs? Meditate so you can shed all the labels your mind have created for you.
You do not need to believe everything your mind tells you to be true. Your mind, like a child, needs comfort and acknowledgement. It needs your presence. There is no need to make your mind or your thoughts your enemy. The mind needs your validation and understanding. It needs you to listen. Do not judge your mind for the thoughts it generates. Realize that everything it thinks is wired through habit and socialization to help you, even if it no longer serves you. That is why you should consider daily meditation! (Not as a way to fix yourself, your mind or your thoughts, but rather use it as a self-loving tool for you to get intimate with you.)
The mind is the artist that helps you create the reality. Imagine your mind having its own unique style and personality. All minds have different needs. There is so much suffering in first world countries because we hold our minds to one idea of intelligence. Academic intelligence, logic, achievement, success, extroversion. In reality, everyone is a freaking genius and an artist. We were just not given the right skills to train our minds to reach its own unique potential.
Some minds cannot stand classroom settings but we label those students as challenged. Some minds are like sponges for knowledge and love books. Some minds require movement and more environmental stimulation. Some minds need silence. Some minds need more human connection and some not as much. Some minds don’t like stillness and prefers a movement meditation.
You can figure out what your mind needs and you can begin to pick thoughts for your mind to think, instead of allowing it to go on autopilot on how it’s conditioned. Begin to master focus and what thoughts you want your mind to focus on. It’s like giving a child freshly sharped crayons to color with instead of letting that child to settle with crappy dull crayons. That is how you train the mind to work for you. You cannot simultaneously dislike your mind and its thoughts and want it to work for you. Meditation takes practice and patience. Through meditation, you can understand your mind and slowly strip away everything that’s burdening you from stepping into your true, powerful, divine nature. You are so so so much greater! And I know because I believe that’s what I am! Stepping into your own unleashed, untamed power allows others around you to do so.
I would love to know what you think! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!
Have a good rest of the week!