You Are Not Your Mind
I used to watch many Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s videos, and do one of his meditations, in which you repeat to yourself, ‘I am not my body, I am not even my mind.’
Now, you might be a complete atheist and believe that the world is pure material and there is not anything beyond it, but at least you can understand what ‘ I am not my body ‘ part. But ‘I am not my mind.’ is a little harder, because we normally identify ourselves with our minds and thoughts. The way you think, the way you feel. This is you therefore you are your mind. But is it really true?
We have a strong tendency to believe what our minds are telling us are true. Think about your habits of thoughts or obsessions. Wasn’t there a time you thought you really like something/somebody and something small happened and you completely changed your mind? Do you ever get out of warm bed at night to check if the door is locked or the oven is turned off, even though you know you have, because your mind would not rest otherwise?
Another example. Many years ago I read a book titles ‘Possessing the secret of Joy’ by Alice Walker. In the book, one of the main characters is happily married to his wife, but he befriends his old female friend from the same village and become very close in completely non- sexual way. His wife becomes very suspicious that he is having an affair, and no matter how much he explained, she lived the rest of their married life believing he is cheating on her, and became a very bitter sad person. And this is completely because she believed what her mind was telling her, which was not based on the reality.
Now sometimes in our meditation session, we try to watch our thoughts. As if you are looking out of a big window seeing clouds go by, we sit and observe our thoughts. Because our minds are almost always thinking and flickering, you don’t immediately notice you are thinking, but as soon as you notice you are thinking, you remove yourself from your thoughts and try to become the observer. Then usually as you do so, somehow you remove the energy from your thoughts and they disappear...until next thoughts come up. If you are particularly worried about something, the same thought keeps coming back, so you just have to persistently try to remove yourself from the different versions of the same thought.
It is not about stopping yourself from thinking which is virtually impossible , but stopping the identification with your thoughts, which is your mind. And this is the mind which, you think, is your self.
In Indian Samkhya philosophy, which declined hundreds of years ago but still relevant in its strong link with yoga philosophy, ‘mind’ and ‘intellect’ belong to the world of materials, like our body or external world. But your souls or your spiritual identity don’t belong to the materials. They are completely independent , pure and unchanging. And according to many Eastern philosophies and religions , the suffering comes from our false identification with our mind-/thoughts. We mistakenly believe our thoughts are our identities, forgetting our true spiritual identity, and this is the cause of our suffering. So, the ultimate purpose of spiritual practice, which include yoga practice in its original from, is to discard this false identification with mind, and find your true spiritual self.
Yes, yoga was so so much harder 2000 years ago.
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