Monday, August 16, 2010

pruning the mind

i just got back from running. it's amazing how good it feels to run. you reach a point where your body is just moving, and your mind becomes distinctly slower and more easy to focus.

there are many people who wish to dismiss the mind as a distraction, something to be ignored. but this world has many components, and all of them have a purpose. the mind is no less a component of this world, with a definite purpose. just because we do not fully understand its purpose, and have not mastered the skill of making it work for us, does not mean it is something to be discarded. it is a similar attitude that doctors once had towards tonsils or the appendix. "it's just going to cause trouble in the future, might as well take 'em out now."

the purpose of meditation, i've found, is not to silence the mind or make it stop... rather it is to notice what is going on within the mind. there are a lot of automatic programs running, and in the midst of the plethora of external distractions, it is easy for these thoughts to slip under the radar of consciousness. useless thoughts, assumptions, judgements, destructive thoughts... these are all programs that we have picked up along the way, hardly noticing what we've downloaded. meditation, or simply quiet contemplation, allows one to notice the mind's habits, see what is serving or not serving, and begin to gently shift the thoughts into new places, new frequencies.

it's like listening to the radio (or your iPod these days) as background noise. and a song comes on that, at first you don't really notice, but you begin to feel sad or nostalgic, singing along absent-mindedly, thinking about a memory that you have attached to the song, and soon enough you're headed down a train of thought about an ex-boyfriend and how he wasn't fair to you. before you know it, you're steeped in a bad mood, and can't seem to shake it.

but the mind is not the one in control here. each one of us has the power to change the station. each one of us has the power to choose a different thought, and continue to choose thoughts of that nature until that is the predominant song playing in the background. and the more you practice "minding the mind" and focusing on new thoughts, the easier it becomes to detect thoughts that don't jive with the station you're tuning in to... it sounds like static, and you have a strong desire to shift the thought immediately so you can keep listening to the beautiful song you've been hearing.

i think what is meant by "transcendence" is... not identifying with any one part of the Whole. the mind is only one aspect. the body is only one aspect. the soul is only one aspect. together, they make up a divine trinity. but no one part can exist without the others, and the Whole is not Whole without each part. the mind is not to be discarded. the body is not to be ignored. the soul is not to be squandered. listen to each part, incorporate each part in your day to day life... this is what it is to be transcendent. to be ALIVE.

speaking of alive, i have an avocado tree growing! it's about 8 inches high now! wow, i'm so excited, it is really flourishing!

well, i don't really know what else to add to this post. off to snack land!


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