The idea that all of our experiences including mental, emotional and physical are determined by the activities of our mind, suggests that our ability to be aware of and manage those activities is of critical importance. But our mind can be tricky, subtle, evasive, deceptive and resist any attempts to tame and control it, is this even possible? It is possible, but the real question is; do we really want to accomplish this? Well, do you? There was a time when I thought this was a strange question, but I have learned with time that it is not. I learned this when I encountered the reality that we almost always have an agenda to our madness.
Selective knowledge or self imposed ignorance provides us with a convenient excuse for avoiding those realities that we don't want to face. This is one of the main reasons why we resist the idea of personal responsibility, we need to be able to deceive ourselves in order to achieve denial. Ironically we use the very capabilities that make our minds one of the most powerful tools ever to evolve, to accomplish our deception and avoidance. We us our ability to filter our perceptions in order to select only the input that suits our agenda. We use our abstract minds ability to imagine fantasies of reality and create not only conceptual worlds, but also a conceptual version of ourselves who lives in that world. All this is done by the undisciplined mind and we are the victims and our lives are the result.
The sad truth here is that many people live their entire lives in this world of slavery that they have come to believe is the real world, and in a sense, to them, it is. But others simply are not able to tolerate the constant feeling that something just isn't right, that there is something wrong in river city because they feel a basic dissatisfaction and unhappiness in their lives that just won't go away. But the journey of self improvement involved in doing something about those feelings is a huge decision and many are overwhelmed by the magnitude of such a goal.
This is no more apparent than in the beginning of such a journey when we begin the first tasks of seeing the problems clearly. We encounter the chaos of our own mind and wonder how in the heck we will overcome years of conditioned thinking and behavior patterns. And here is where the rubber meets the road where our initial desire to change is tested. Will we find the determination, commitment and faith in ourselves to get us through this or not? And this will not be the first time your strength will be tested. In order to get a handle on the chaos of our own mind we need to bring everything we have to the task. All our will, our determination, perseverance and patience.
One of the first things we need to focus on developing is self discipline. We need to develop a level of awareness, a consciousness that can act as an unattached observer with veto power, a consciousness that does not engage in criticism or judgment but simply watches and allows. This kind of upper management is necessary in order to keep us from getting captured by our own abstract minds ability to conceptualize every experience. It does this by using language symbols to label, categorize, describe and define our direct experiences. For example; our eyes are able to experience the many different waves of light that enter through them directly without attaching any artificial baggage to them.
But our minds are conditioned to go into action building lines and shapes, labeling the waves as colors and arranging them into objects with names. This is our minds ability to conceptualize experiences so that they are no longer direct experiences but only mental constructs built of thoughts that make ideas that make concepts which allow us to feel that we understand and therefore are able to control reality which in turn provides us with the illusion of security. This upper management form of consciousness is known in certain meditation circles as mindfulness.
With mindfulness will come some revelations that some people are not prepared for. We experience ourselves as physical beings in a physical material reality, but if you go far enough along the journey of self improvement you will inevitably encounter the spiritual reality and this one can result in an entire paradigm shift in our perceptions of reality. Suddenly we no longer see ourselves as a physical being with a spirit, but a spiritual being in physical form. This can change everything.
Our species chose to pursue the material version of reality at some point and I always wonder what the world would be like if we had gone the other way and followed the spiritual version of reality. But the fact of the two realities remains and for a time it is a little difficult to reconcile the two until you become aware that they are not incompatible, just different, very different. The important thing to realize here is that when it comes to the journey of self improvement, your spiritual powers are those that will help you to achieve success. But whether you are developing your spiritual awareness or your ability to function in the material world, learning to manage the power of your mind is a prerequisite to success.
Here is an excellent resource for yoga and meditation.