Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who Is Running Your Mind?

Think of the workings of your mind like a committee. The committee is constantly bombarding you with different voices and opinions. One of the members of the committee is “catastrophe,” the pessimist who wants to remind you to expect the worst in every situation. Maybe some of the committee members are the voices of people who haunt your life with their “negativity:” a teacher, an ex or a business nemesis.

They all have their perspective, and they all bring something worthwhile to the table. But none of them holds all the truth of your life.

The spiritual perspective is that there is a still small voice that remains calm while all the other voices compete for attention. This is the voice of your true self, the I am that transcends and includes all other perspectives and roles. It’s a small voice, not because it lacks power. On the contrary, this is your most powerful voice. It’s small because it has no need to raise its voice in anger, or shout irrational obscenities in meetings. It’s small because it wants to hear the answers to its questions. It has no predetermined ideas as to how the future will play out; preferring to urge you to be all you can be in each moment - a work in progress.

It’s a still voice, not because it lacks conviction. On the contrary, this is your most passionate voice. The still voice cares passionately about what happens in the world. It’s still because it doesn’t fight reality. It has nothing to defend or protect and would never turn up at a Town Hall dialogue with a loaded gun strapped to its leg. It states its case calmly and respectfully, and genuinely looks for win/win solutions.

The intent of spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga, contemplation and so many other practices is awareness - so that you know which committee member is running your mind at a given moment. With this awareness, you can choose to appoint the still small voice as the chair of your mind’s committee. As chair, it can affirm and embrace each voice for what it is, but not be ruled by any one voice. Spiritual practice helps you to tune into the still small voice and live your life with contentment and skillful means.

When you are grounded in the spiritual practice of your choice, your focus shifts to the present moment. You are able to take refuge in the moment. If you stand firm and remain still in the moment, you realize that you are okay no matter what the circumstance.

Your mind has incredible power to care for your health. Mend your mind, and you will heal your body. Mind your body and mend your mind, and you will be well on the path to a healthy spirit. The still small voice in me honors the same in you. When we meet in this stillness, conversations can only be respectful and productive. Namaste.