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What is mind? What is consciousness? How to free yourself from the mind and find peace.

 

This Moment is all that you have.

 

What is mind?

 

This moment is all that you have.

(By Abby Eagle) What is mind? From the moment that you were conceived you took in sensory information from the world and stored it in your neurology. During conception the information would primarily have been kinaesthetic but at birth the baby begins recording information through all of its senses in pictures, sounds, feelings, smells and tastes. Mind is a collection of memories that have become layered and textured to form attitudes, values, beliefs and meanings. Mind is past and mind is future. You can reflect on the past to build new meanings and understandings to help you live in the present and plan for the future.

Mind is thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future but you are not the mind, you are the one who is aware of the mind. You are the witnessing consciousness. Consciousness is always searching for an object out in the world - and when it does so the result is thoughts in pictures, sound and feelings.

But consciousness becomes identified with the mind. This is the problem. You think you are the mind. You think this is who you are. But you are not the mind. You are the consciousness - the one who is aware of the mind. Most people live their life in their mind. You can recognise this when people make statements like, "I found myself smoking cigarettes again. I know I don't want to be doing it but I just can't stop."

What this type of statement indicates is the person has some awareness that their mind is running the body and that they are a back seat driver to their life. The challenge is how to get into the drivers seat and learn how to use the controls such that you become master of the mind - you learn to drive the mind rather than the mind drive you.

In both East and West, mystics and psychologists have conceptualised the mind as being layered. For example, conscious mind, unconscious mind, collective unconscious mind, and so on. After 20 years of meditation I came to the understanding that there is only consciousness and unconscious mind.

All thoughts arise out of the unconscious mind. It is impossible to have a conscious thought, as the intention for the conscious thought is set at the level of the unconscious mind. (This is explained in more detail in another article.) So what we have is awareness and unconscious mind. Or consciousness and unconscious mind. Different words but same meaning.

So let's get back to the example of the cigarette smoker lamenting that they are smoking again. What we have is an indication of some awareness of the behaviour. The person is conscious to some degree of the behaviour but because the process of lighting up the cigarette occurred out of awareness and because the person does not yet know how to manage the mind they find themselves smoking again.

With meditation one learns to bring awareness to the thoughts and as you do so the thoughts gradually slow down, move further away and quieten until silence reveals itself. The silence was always there in the background but if your focus was on the thoughts (the foreground) then you miss the silence.

When people talk about getting away from it all for the weekend, what they are indicating is that they want to get away from the mind but you don't need to go on a holiday to get away from the mind. All you need do is to bring awareness to the internal dialogue and it will naturally lose its energy; it will slow down, the tonality will soften, it will move further away and it will quieten until it totally disappears - and then silence will reveal itself. The silence was always there but you were not aware of it because you had your attention on the thoughts.

By constantly bringing awareness to the thoughts you learn how to master the thoughts. The mind becomes quiet and you experience positive states of being like peacefulness, happiness, blissfulness and euphoria. Eventually awareness becomes aware of itself; consciousness becomes conscious of itself and in that moment an understanding occurs that is beyond mind, beyond time and space... you have come home to your true self. __ © Author Abby Eagle

 

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