Posted on April 16th, 2014
Left on its own, your mind can produce an endless stream of thoughts, one following another with seeming inevitability. Because of this, it’s easy to identify with your mind as though it’s who you are. This tremendously over-empowers your mind, which is actually only a tool.
Your thinking mind is like a hammer, very useful to have when you want to pound a nail, but otherwise useless. Imagine brushing your teeth with a hammer or stirring your coffee with it. This would be disastrous.
The same is true of your thinking mind. Where it’s useful—for identifying something, measuring, calculating, comparing two things—your mind can be very useful. But minds spread easily into areas where they don’t belong. And there they cause trouble.
Take relationships. Thinking minds know nothing of love, but they can count how many times you give more than your partner or are not noticed as you’d like to be, so they diminish relationships by turning them into business transactions. Minds are great at business transactions. But in a relationship, even if you are ‘winning,’ you lose, because your mind can’t hold the connection which makes a relationship worthwhile. Allowing your mind to take the lead in a relationship is to doom that relationship to ongoing dissatisfaction.
Whatever the mind creates is only a map, never the reality of the territory. The discrepancy between your mind’s view and reality can’t be eliminated, so the mind can never have more than an uneasy hold on life. Because reality is always about to unseat the mind’s mental construct, living in your mind leads to anxiety.
If you are used to living in your mind, waking up to life beyond the mind can be a shock. To know something is a different physical and emotional experience than reasoning it out. To feel something instead of thinking you feel it is an intense change. To love someone is vastly different than possessing them.
What can make it difficult to escape the tyranny of your mind is that the mind is so good at appropriating what doesn’t belong to it. The mind likes its powerfulness, so it works overtime to claim everything you do and everything you are for itself.
This is unfortunate. A mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but it’s also a terrible thing to overuse.