Have you come across any ‘mad’ person in the street who is talking to himself ? If the answer is yes, then there might not be enough difference between many of us today and the ‘mad’ person, except many of us don’t do it loud.
Today, most of us are addicted to compulsive thinking as the voice in the head constantly comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes and so on and most of the time, the voice regrets about the past or imagines the future possible situations, but not about ‘present’ time.
The ‘most popular spiritual author in the world’, Eckhart Tolle, described his life journey till the age of 29, as a life full of anxiety interspersed with periods of suicidal depression. He used to live in the state of constant misery and dread. But then one day, a strange and profound transformation happened and there was no tension and anxiety. For months, he lived in the state of uninterrupted internal joy and bliss by harnessing the power of ‘present’ moments.
Echkart Tolle, is a contemporary spiritual teacher, who is not associated with any particular religion and does not preach about God or religious values. In his best-selling book, The Power of Now, The Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Tolle imparts a very simple but a profound message: the power of the present moment. He says the ability to live in the ‘present’ holds the key to liberation and ‘enlightenment’.
What is ‘Enlightenment’?
‘Enlightenment’, simply, means ‘awareness’ of the present. But this word, these days, has become so mysterious, that we think it as any sort of supernatural accomplishment. The journey towards ‘Enlightenment’ starts with ‘awareness’ by ending the constant state of ‘compulsive thinking’ because most of the people, are living with a tormentor in their heads which is never silent and continuously drains our vital energy.
Today, compulsive thinking is becoming an addiction and like every other addiction, we don’t have choice where to stop this dreadful affliction. Incessant thinking has become a disease, like ‘cancer’ as there is nothing wrong with cells dividing and multiplying in the body, but when this process continues endlessly, cells proliferate and we have disease of ‘cancer’.
All negativity is caused by denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, and worry – all forms of ‘fears’ are caused by too much ‘future’ and not enough ‘presence’. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of forgiveness are caused by too much ‘past’ and not enough ‘presence’. The greatest obstacle in ‘Enlightenment’ is the continuous and never-ending mental noise that prevents us from finding inner stillness and peace.
Disidentify Yourself From the Mind
We drive our sense of ‘self’ from the activity of our minds, but we also become addict to ‘compulsive thinking’. We have forgotten that there is vast realm of intelligence beyond thought process and the emotions of beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace arise beyond the mind.
Our, too much identification with our mind, creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgements and definitions that blocks the true relationship with others. It comes between you and yourself, you and your relationships, you and God, you and others and you and your Ego. In this process, we have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the ‘Now’ or ‘present’ moments.
In ‘enlightenment’ state, you use your ‘thinking’ mind only when needed and in a much more focused and effective way. Only if you disidentify yourself from the over thinking mind, you will be free from the involuntary overthinking and will achieve inner joy and peace.
Can we free ourselves form the Mind?
‘Freeing oneself from the Mind’ is essence of all spiritual, meditation or even religious practices. The one who truly achieves it, like Yogis, reaches next level of consciousness. We cannot leave everything and go to Himalayas, but there are two simple exercises which will bring inner peace and joy.
First, the author suggests to be ‘Watcher’ of your mind’s thoughts by listening to the voice in your head and pay attention to the thought patterns. Listen to the voice impartially and be there as ‘witnessing’ presence without interpreting. Don’t judge, condemn or analyze what you hear, because doing so would mean that the same voice has come again through the back door.
The thought then loses power over you and quickly subsides, because you are no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. At first, the such observing will be short but gradually it will become longer and with practice the sense of stillness and peace will deepen.
So, make it a habit to ask yourself: What is going on inside me at this moment?
Second, we can direct the focus and attention into the ‘Now’ by feeling the immediate surrounding. Routine activities can be done by giving fullest attention. If you are able to stay alert and present, it affords an opportunity for the inner transformation.
For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house, pay close attention to every step and movement. When you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense the perceptions associated with the activity: the feel of water. When you eat the food, pay attention to chewing and the taste of food.
Look around and see the light, shapes, colors, textures and fell the aliveness of such things. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing. Observe the rhythm of your breathing- feel the air flowing in and out. Be totally present. Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence and the most potent tool spiritual practice will be with you.
True happiness is a state of freedom from compulsive thinking, fear, perceived state of insufficiency and therefore from all the wanting, needing, grasping and clinging. It is freedom from the egoistic mind whose needs are endless, no matter what you achieve. Transform your life by honoring the present moments and see how unhappiness dissolves and life begins to flow with joy and ease.
Before saying Adieu…
The true essence of all the relaxation, mindfulness or meditation activities have been to make us feel and enjoy the present moment. It might be the reason of inner peace, when we visit mountains or beaches, because we focus on scenic beauty and surrender to the ‘present’ unconditionally.
So, switch off your mind for 5-10 minutes daily, ‘watch the thinker’ and look around and enjoy the air, sunlight, breath, sound or anything without interpreting and remember happiness lies within you and in the present moment only. Give it a try and feel this incredible liberation!
Stay tuned for next article till then stay safe and curious.