What happens when you realise that you are not your ‘mind’?
For the sake of simplicity let’s define the mind as a stream of thoughts that changes from moment to moment in perceptible experience in each individual. This stream of thoughts comprises of memories, thoughts themselves and thoughts in the form of future projections. Also, this stream of thoughts also manifests themselves “as being inside our head” as an inner chatter that keeps going on and on in our own voice. Scientists often say that we experience way over 10,000 thoughts a day. So this thought stream could almost be comparable to an unending waterfall that keeps flowing throughout our daily lives that we seem to have no control over.
Here’s the kicker though, we believe we are our minds. We have heard that inner voice for so long we start believing that the voice is who we are! That every thought we perceive is our own and that the inner voice is our own voice is what we truly are. Some people go as far as claiming that inner chatter to be the voice of our souls. Early philosophers have even gone on to say “I think therefore I am”. The human species regards its capacity of thinking the highest level of functioning. We believe that thinking is our greatest asset. Hence our entire civilization is based upon honing and rewarding those skills in all facets of life like the education system, professions, and political systems.
We have lived with this inner voice that opens the flood gates of thoughts that come gushing in and we get conditioned beyond critical judgment and discernment to distinguish our being-ness from our thoughts. We become our thoughts, we become our minds. No one denies that at any point during the day they stop having thoughts. Thinking becomes addictive. The mind saps the energy of our focus and of our awareness by making us focus on our thoughts more rather than what we’re actually doing in that very moment.
The more information we consume, the bigger this mind thought stream becomes and the more distracted we get in our daily life situations. We become absent minded. We miss out on the beauty of life. No wonder people get riddled with stress. If you’re not enjoying being alive how do you expect to live a fuller life? Enjoyment doesn’t mean sitting on your couch and virtually plugging yourself into a fake reality. The more in tune you are with the real world the less inner chatter you experience and thus you experience less stress. This stream of the mind is the root cause of mental exhaustion that not only causes stress but also anxiety, depression, fear, insomnia and host of other negative experiences depending on the thought stream you are fixated on.
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