Living in the Now – Part 2 of 3: Understanding the Mind

As we experience our individual yet profoundly interconnected journeys of transformation, we inevitably encounter obstacles, challenges, or, otherwise known as growth opportunities. Thoughts and emotions become valuable tools that can help us become clearer and more attuned to our Higher Selves. Thoughts and emotions also have the potential to assist us in destroying all that we have persevered to attain. Thought alone, when it is no longer connected with the much vaster realm of consciousness, can quickly become destructive. Through an understanding of how our minds operate, we gain the ability to see why it is so important to be aware of the chatter within. Being aware of this chatter consequently enables us to be conscious of the present moment.

Thoughts and Emotions

For many years, seekers of divine wisdom have studied the importance of protecting our personal energy – the energy that we hold with ourselves in this moment, the energy that has been allocated to us for the purpose of benefiting our Highest Good, the energy that can enable us to serve others if we so choose. One of the ways that we, as humans, expel the greatest quantities of energy is through feeding our constant streams of thought. In this way, most people sleepily go through their lives allowing their minds to control their experiences and influence their choices. In this unconscious state, our thoughts continually control who we are and keep us living in the past or somewhere out in the future. Our thoughts either keep bringing us back to memories that provoke states of anger, resentment and regret, or they coax us into a state of worry, in which we are afraid of something ‘bad’ happening in the future. Choosing to live in either of these mental states means that we are escaping this precious NOW and preventing ourselves from experiencing the joys of the moment.

Our emotions can be another incredible drain on our energy. Some people may feel that they lose more energy through their emotions than through their out-of-control thoughts. Emotion arises at the place where our thoughts and our bodies meet. Emotion is our body’s reaction to thought. We might say, emotions are a reflection of our thoughts in the body.

The moment the body reacts to a thought, an emotion is created. The image above can be interpreted as an energetic depiction of this process.

Let’s look at an example to better understand this concept. A hostile thought will create a build-up of energy in the body that we call anger – the body is getting ready to fight. The thought that we are being threatened causes the body to contract. This is the physical side of what we call the emotion of fear. Research has shown that strong emotions even cause changes in the biochemistry of the body, which represents the actual physical aspect of the emotion. Of course, we are not usually consious of all of our thought patterns. It is often through watching our emotions that we can bring them into awareness.


Hostile Thought manifesting into Emotional Response

Sometimes, a conflict exists in which we find ourselves thinking ‘no’ while our emotions say ‘yes’. Just by observing our bodies, we can tune into our higher senses of awareness. The body will always present a truthful reflection of what is happening on the level of our thoughts and emotions. Look at the emotions, or rather, ‘feel’ them in the body. If there is an apparent conflict between your emotions and your thoughts, the thoughts will generally be the lies while the emotions will be the truth…not the ultimate truth of who you are, but the relative truth of your state of mind at the time.

For example, imagine that you are trying to decide between two job offers. You have logically analyzed both opportunities and understand the pros and cons of each option. Yet still, you don’t know which door to walk through next. What do you do? Well, you could try observing your body as you think of one job, and then do the same as you consider the other option. Is your body giving you subtle hints about which offer you would feel better taking? Do your muscles feel tight and your limbs tense when you imagine one job, while with the other you feel yourself relaxing into your chair and taking a breath? Sometimes, the clues are obvious, while at other times you might be so stressed that the Universe’s hints are difficult to sense at first. This is when relaxing into your body as much as you can will help tremendously. No one knows the answers to your questions but you. The key is to pause and listen to yourself instead of looking externally for the answer. You will find your way. There is no need to waste energy worrying about what might happen if you make the wrong decision. Focusing all your awareness on connecting with your Higher Self will bring you to where you want to be. It is that simple.

The ‘knowner’ behind the ‘thinker’

So, when we talk about the ‘mind’, we refer to both thoughts and emotions. It is very important to be aware of both the thoughts and the feelings that we experience and strive to be the ‘observer’ as much as possible. When we are able to step out of the experience of the thought or of the emotion and really SEE it is for what it is, we are taking steps towards expanding our consicousness. We begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, and that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. We also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, and inner peace – arise from beyond the mind.

The mind is a superb instrument if used correctly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. It is not so much that we use the mind incorrectly, for most often, we really don’t use it at all – IT USES US! We believe that we are our mind and this is the delusion – the point at which the mind has taken over us! It is almost as if we are possessed without knowing it, and so we take the possessing entity (our minds) to be who we are. In order to free ourselves from our minds, it is necessary to realize that we are not the ‘thinker’.  We are much more than that! We are the ‘knower’ behind the ‘thinker’.

Within each one of us is that deeper self that immediately recognizes spiritual truth, resonates with it, and gains strength from it. This is why it is so important to ‘watch the thinker’, which will then allow us to ‘feel the knower’ (or inner voice) on a regular basis. We must begin to distinguish these two components of the inner dialogue – the false self that performs a continuous monologue babbling on about involuntary thoughts that he is unable to stop feeding, and the real self, the knower of spiritual truth, that resides within each of us and is trying to re-gain power over the ego (false self). The Higher Self wants to make us whole and complete and bring us into the present moment, into the blissful state of love, peace and joy.

Love, peace and joy are not truly ’emotions’. They lie beyond emotions on a much deeper level and cannot flourish until we have freed ourselves from mind-dominance.  Love, peace and joy are deep aspects of our inner connectedness with Being. Thus, they have no opposites because they arise from beyond the mind – from beyond duality. Emotions, on the other hand, being part of the dualistic mind, are subject to the Law of Opposites. This simply means that we cannot have good without bad. In the unenlightened, mind-identified condition, what is sometimes wrongly called joy is the usually short-lived pleasure side of the common pain/pleasure cycle that many of us find ourselves returning to regularly. Pleasure is always derived from something outside of us, whereas JOY arises from within. The very thing that gives us pleasure today, will give us pain tomorrow, or it will leave us, and then its absence will give us pain. When true joy is experienced, we settle into an authentic peaceful state that cannot be shaken by the external presence of duality.

So, how can we learn to control our thoughts and our emotions and thus free ourselves from this identification with our minds? How can we learn to separate ourselves from the ‘thinker’ and learn to be the ‘observer’? The good news is that we can free ourselves from our mind by learning to listen to the inner sense as much as possible. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns – those old audiotapes that have been playing in our heads for years. This is what is meant by ‘watching the thinker’, which is another way of saying: “Listen to the voice within and be there as a witnessing presence”.

Listen impartially, that is to say, do not judge nor condemn what you witness, for doing so would mean that the same voice has come in again through the back door! You will soon realize that “There is chatter, and here I am listening to it, watching it.” This I AM realization, this sense of our own presence, is not a thought – it arises from beyond the mind. Therefore, when we listen to a thought, we are aware not only of the thought, but also of our self as the witness. A new dimension of consciousness will have just come in! As we listen to the thought, we feel a conscious presence – a deeper self behind or underneath the thought. The thought then loses its power over us and quickly diminishes because we are no longer energizing it through our identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary compulsive thinking.

Disassociate from the mind

The single most important step on our journey toward enlightenment is this: Learn to disassociate from the mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of thought, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. Enlightenment means rising above thought. In the enlighened state, we still use our thinking mind when needed, but in a much more focused and effective way. We use it mostly for practical purposes, but we are free of the involuntary internal dialogue. We thus create inner stillness. When we use our mind when a creative solution is needed, we oscillate every few minutes between thought and stillness, between mind and no-mind. No-mind is consciousness without thought. Only in that way is it possible to think creatively, because only in that way does thought have any real power.

Living in the Now – Part 1 of 3: Introduction

I myself looked for some larger branches and put them on top of the kindling. So it was in life. In order for the more substantial  pieces of wood to catch fire, the kindling must burn first. In order for us to liberate the energy of our strength, our weakness must first have a chance to reveal itself.

~The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coelho

“I cannot live with myself any longer!”

Have you ever said this to yourself in the privacy of your own lunacy? If you have, perhaps you’ve made yourself miserable enough to want to wake up now and acknowledge that you’ve just made a fundamental discovery! You’ve identified two of you – there is the “I”, and then there is the self with which “I” cannot live. If you assume that this is true, then is it possible that only one of these “I’s” is real and the other is artificial? An interesting thought…

So, why bring this up? Well, what I’d like to do during this three part this ‘Living in the Now’ series is to discuss the difference between our ‘real self’ (you as a part of the Oneness) and our ‘false self’ (our physical body as identification with the ego).

How can we challenge ourselves to step beyond this limited view of ourselves and step into the greater expanse of who we really are? How can we free ourselves from the intense grip of our egos, which is currently controlling our thoughts, our emotions and our mental image of what we project into the world we perceive? How can we step out of our ‘minds’ – these minds to which we surrender so much control? How can we learn to live in the present moment and let go of past baggage and fears of the future?

These sound like impossible tasks to some, but hopefully with greater understanding of how to apply the principle of living in the Now to our lives, we can attain a deeper grasp of how we can transform ourselves into ‘Beings of Now’.

Enlightenment, transformation and living in the present moment can only truly begin when we honestly look at ourselves and ask questions like, “Who am I?”, “Am I listening to my soul?”, “Is there a ‘real’ self and a ‘false’ self? And if I believe that there is, can I make a distinction between the two and believe in myself enough to take the necessary steps for transformation?”

During this period of major realignment on our planet, there are many coined phrases and terms that are flowing as freely as our out-of-control minds. Words like evolution, vibrations, false self, ego, consciousness, superconsciousness, unconscious, inner body, unmanifested, authentic self, soul, spirit – the list goes on and on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to determine the meaning of each word and how it fits into our own interpretation of how things work. But remember, these are just words – words that can both confuse and words that can excite, words that make us feel empowered and words that make us feel unworthy. But remember that the most basic job of words is to help us TRY to communicate.

As an example, there are words whose meaning we don’t question, such as the word ‘dog’. When we hear that word, we can assume that most people immediately envision a furry, friendly, cuddly pet who wants to lick us and be our friend forever. Pretty simple: mental image = definition of the word. But…what about other words a bit more tricky to envision? How about a word like ‘enlightenment’? What immediately comes to mind? Is this a harder picture to conjure up? I would guess if we asked each person reading this what he or she saw in the mind’s eye, each person would have a different mental picture and thus a different explanation of what ‘enlightenment’ means.

Our minds are very important to this process, but we must know how and when to use them and when to step out of our minds! Our intellect is also very important in our human expansion, yet our intellect can also get in the way of transformation. We have to learn how to understand the difference between our mind and our intellect in order to really make significant changes in our lives. The journey is challenging, yet it is tremendously important in our own personal path back to Source.

Can we release our falsely-created self, the ego, behind? Can we truly breathe the lighter air of the spiritual on a regular basis? Through the wisdom of various spiritual teachers, a variety of different lessons and also, with the study of the powerful book of Eckhart Tolle called ‘The Power of Now’, let us bring to light the importance of living in the present so that we can face this existence in a state of true inner peace. Eckhart Tolle shares so beautifully his deep understanding of the power of our own minds. In this book he speaks of ways in which to understand how the mind works, of obstacles that we are confronted with daily that have the power to challenge our ability to stay on the path, of the importance of undersatnding relationships that we share in our lives, and of how to discover, through communion within ourselves as well as with others, how to truly live in the present moment.

As we work through this process, it’s important to define a few terms that we will be discussing as they relate to the material given here. Each person, each religion, each teaching that we have all been exposed to over the years can have a different definition or understanding of a specific term – that is both the beauty and the confusion of trying to use words for spiritual understanding. I by no means am giving the ‘right’ definition of the following terms but I am attempting, within our limited vocabulary, to share one possibility, one variation of an xplanation of some of these important terms so that clarity may have a chance to assist us in the understanding of what it means to live in the Now.

The first word I would like to discuss is the word ‘being’. I am sure there are various definitions of this word but in this context here, the following definition is offered:

BEING: ‘Being’ is the eternal, ever-present One Life beyond the many forms of life that are subject to birth and death. ‘Being’ is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence.

This means that it is accessible to us now as our own deepest self, our true nature. ‘Being’ is used by many people because it is an open concept – it does not reduce the infinitely invisible to a finite entity since it is difficult to form a mental image of ‘Being’.

Many people identify the word ‘being’ with a physical expression and label it ‘God’, where they can envision a very large man-like character who knows all things, sees all things and judges how we live our lives. Other people think of ‘Being’ as life-force energy or Sprit of pure love and light that vibrates at a very high rate of frequency. No interpretation of ‘Being’ is right or wrong. For every living creature, it is their very presence, and it is immediately accessible to us as the feeling of this presence. It is only a small step from the word ‘Being’ to the experience of Being! How incredible is that!?

Next, what is enlightenment? Simply:

ENLIGHTENMENT: means to regain our awareness of ‘Being’ and to abide by that state of ‘feeling-realization’. It is simply our natural state of ‘felt oneness with Being’ that keeps us in the state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible – something that IS essentially us and yet is much greater than us. It is the discovering of our true nature, beyond name and form and identification with our physical body. The word ‘enlightenment’ conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way!

The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of seperation, from ourself and from the world around us. We then can perceive ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment, separate from everything else. When this happens, fear arises and conflicts deep within ourselves can become fueled.

The greatest obstacle to experiencing the reality of our connectedness to All There IS is the identification with our mind, which then can cause thought to become compulsive. Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadul afflication, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents us from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being. This can help to explain why so many people have difficulty meditating. Their inability to establish stillness within and of having a mind empty of thoughts seems an insurmountable task. After several failed attempts, our minds declare victory and meditation becomes an imposibility. However, if we can learn to understand the power of our minds and begin to have power over them, the results are peace, happiness and stillness within.

Awakening to the Resonance

A magical thing happened to me this morning. It’s actually still happening to me now as I write this post. You see, I decided to dedicate some of my attention today to going through messages in my inbox; messages that have been waiting for me for some time now; messages that I wasn’t ready for or open to until now; messages that I am nevertheless extremely grateful to have received. Most of them are videos and links to resources sent to me from friends and family – information that they thought I might be interested in coming across. Most of the time, these messages sit in my inbox for quite some time before I feel comfortable enough to approach them. I think to me, that means that they have great power to affect me, and at some level, I know this, so I wait until the time is right so that I can truly give them the attention they, and I, deserve. Today, I happened to come across a sound that stimulated such a profound feeling of something opening within me that I felt moved to share it with you here.

Sounds are very powerful. We’ve talked about them here in the form of mantras and chants. There are certain frequencies that can be expressed in seemingly simple tones, but that when listened to, create an environment in which great awakening can take place. The ones that I would like to share with you today are frequencies that resonate at 741 HZ. The videos that I will include below include these types of sounds. When I listen to them in this moment, I feel something happening in my Third Eye area. The more I listen to them, the more this feeling expands to fill the top of my head, the back of my head and around my temples and ears. Even my neck feels the impact of the sound. It starts off as feeling of pressure between my brows, but not a physical pressure like when you press on your forehead with your hand. No, this is a more subtle pressure, one felt beneath the surface of the skin, that bores into the depths of my inner site. I know this sounds strange but it’s so powerful. My vision isn’t technically affected in the experience, but at the same time, I can feel that my eyes would prefer not to focus on this dimension. It’s as if they’re asking me to look beyond, to look past the physical, to allow them to rest for a moment in another space, a more peaceful, gentle space. This makes for quite an interesting experience while I’m typing! Good thing I remember the position of most of the keys!

I enjoy experiencing unfoldment in this way. It’s almost like an instantaneous repositioning of my awareness into a deeper place of much greater expanse then any place I’ve been on to this planet. Even the most gloriously wide, open space like a wheat field along a dusty highway or the view from atop an ancient volcano can’t compare to the expanse that exists within us. To awaken this sense is such a healing experience to communicate with our Higher essence with the utmost of grace and reverence. To mingle with your soul while still experiencing the physical dimension is a wonderful reminder that we are so much more than our bodies, our minds, our surroundings. We are one with all. There exists no delineation between this and that. There are no borders, do separation between this dimension and that dimension. It is all a fluid flow of tranquility. Enjoy and God Bless!