Your mind, what is it – really?

We very often think that ‘our mind’ is all the chatter and thought we experience in our heads. But, a simple bit of introspection can reveal a deeper truth.

Sit quietly in a place without distractions and watch what’s happening inside your mind.

Buddha mindNow, conceive of your mind as a bowl and this bowl is the container and the thoughts are the things in the container.

If you try, as meditation masters suggest, you can after some effort, suppress your thoughts and experience passages of time in which your inner environment is nothing but silence.

At first, it will be quite difficult and even the shortest span of quiet will be greeted by a thought breaking the spell and saying, “Wow, it is really quiet in here”.

But, if you persevere, eventually you will be able to maintain the quiet spaces for periods of greater length.

The key thing to note and consider is this. The mind is still there once you’ve quieted it. The mind that remains is simply awareness without content. This is what the mind really is.

If you doubt this assertion and you think the mind should rightly be considered the thoughts, then remember the image of the bowl and ask yourself if the thoughts could exists without the bowl that encloses them?

The answer is no. The bowl remains, whether it is filled with the chatter of thoughts or not. It is the thoughts that can be added or subtracted from the awareness that the mind is. Not the reverse.

Most of us believe we are the mind’s chatter but it isn’t so. At core, we are the undifferentiated awareness that underlies the chatter.

There’s great peace in your world when you begin to gain some facility in knowing this difference. You can develop the ability to see your mind as a tool or a calculator and you can learn to turn it on when you need it and leave it off most of the rest of the time.

It’s your life and it is just a skill that takes a bit of practice. Why not take it up and give yourself some peace?

It’s an opportunity that’s right in front of you, free. And that’s a good deal cheaper than that next self-help book you want to buy to glance at briefly and the set on your bookshelf with your collection of such books to impress your friends.  As if knowledge could be owned rather than lived.

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