Ruminating On Rumi

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

~ M. Rumi

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Befriending Your Mind

What is befriending your mind?  It is in a compassionate way overcoming a limited view of self. Why would we want to do that? I believe that to honour and love self as a whole means befriending the mind/body/spirit connection. 
Through this awareness we tap into our innate compassion, self-care and who we truly are, the physical manifestation of consciousness. For the most part we can enjoy living life and even find the positive in navigating life’s challenges. Even the language we use can effect our perception of the world. A challenge enriches us, it implies that we have choice and the opportunity to change. A deterministic view of the world leads us to believe there is little we can do.

Dr Joe Dispenza defines, “The brain is an organ with around 100 billion neurons, and each neuron is like a computer. The mind is the brain in action.”         Let us explore the workings and playings of our brain/mind in relation to this whole self. 

We are far greater then what our mind would have us believe.  Still, this most amazing versatile sense organ is just a tool. I believe that if you let the tool rule then you become the fool. How can this be so?  Let me illustrate this with a very simple example.  I’m sure every one of us knows at least one person who believes the world is a scary place and that people can’t be trusted.  Lo and behold, most of their life experiences reinforce this. The world mirrors back to them exactly what they believe they will experience. So this deep seated belief of lack of kindness become the glasses of how the world is perceived.  I think of perception as our filter of past experiences and conditionings that shape our acquaintance with the present. 

The brain is a complex recording and playback machine. It is a very efficient sense organ that records experiences as memories. The left side of the brain handles organization and logic. Through neurons which are micro computers, it  systematically catalogues, categorizes and codes. When similiar situations arise those memories surface through our behaviour, beliefs and relationships.  If we believe all that we think and let this playback system run of its own accord, we think that’s who we are.   

Once we realize that our mind is in service of us and not us to it we can begin breaking habit patterns that keep us feeling small and scared and powerless.   Dr Joe Dispenza writes that , “Your past shortfalls can be traced at their root, to one major oversight: you haven’t committed yourself to living by the truth that your thoughts have consequences so great that they create your reality.” He suggests that we can “literally roll up a whole set of automatic attitudes, thoughts and actions , unlearning an old aspect of self and relearning a new aspect of self”

Dr Dispenza’s  book “Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself ~ How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One” brings our attention to the amazing plasticity of the brain. And the awesome ability we have to change our mind.

I think therefore I am thinking.  I am using the tool we call the brain/mind.  That is, perhaps, the most important thing to remember about “mind.”  The brain is a tool, the workings of the mind a skill set which when unchecked can behave like a toddler having a temper tantrum, a temperamental teenager, an anxious adult and so on.

From a wonderful article by Joshua BenAvides, based on Dr Joe’s amazing work, Joshua writes:

"The Habit Power Of Thought.

You see, a thought is not ONLY a thought. Your every thought produces a biochemical reaction in the brain. The brain then goes on to send chemical signals  throughout your whole body as messengers of that thought. In other words, thoughts ARE things.

Every thought you have is shaping your brain. What we repeatedly think about and where we shine the light of our focus and attention is what we neurologically become. And with enough repetition of thought and feeling, your thoughts and feelings become tattooed into the wrinkled fabric of your brain which then go on to shape your daily habits and tendencies."

What can we do to break this insidious habit of letting the mind be master?

1) Don’t believe everything you think.
An acronym from the early annals of computing is GIGO. It means “garbage in, garbage out.”  If we program/fill our brain/mind with garbage and we believe it, it is no wonder we behave in and relate to the world in the same way. 

2) Cultivate Consciousness through meditation, yoga, simply being with what is

3) Ask why?  Just say know ~ don’t believe everything you hear, read or are told.  Try it.  See if it works for you

4) Befriend the present moment.  This is where it all happens. 

5) Practice “knowing” that the greater I is truly “I am that, I am .”

Befriend this sometimes spoiled child we call the mind, with love, compassion and awareness. Just say know, ask why, don’t simply believe what you are told, experience it yourself, practice mindfulness, meditation, yoga.  Envision the mind /brain as part of a greater whole, bodymindspirit.  

We are whole-in-one. The practice is waking up to this true "knowing" thought by thought, moment by moment.

Resources to chase up:
Dr Joe Dispenza books, “Evolve Your Mind,” and “Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself ~ How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One” 

Dr Jill Bolte-Taylor’s, “My Stroke Of Insight” and this Ted Talk.

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