It has everything to do with awareness of mind
We might think it’s a secret, or what only the few seem to possess, yet there really is something so simple, and so beautiful, about being aware of your state of mind. It’s the difference that makes the difference.
When we can answer these next questions we start to understand: From moment to moment what am I thinking? What is my mind seeking?
When meditating, I sense the thoughts within my mind, as being similar, to a paddock full of wild horses. These horses are noisy and restless. They’re stirring up the dust; it’s arid within the confines of the paddock. They want to escape to an imagined lush green land. They want the satisfaction this would bring. They’re sweating and the whites of their eyes are showing. Their ears are back; focusing only on their fear and agitation. They long to escape.
The similarity is this restless craving to satisfy their need. My mind craves the escape of thought. It wants to escape its confines
When the mind is constantly stimulated and engaged it’s happily satisfying its addiction. Like the alcoholic taking the drink, or the sugar addict biting into the chocolate bar – satisfied and happy – if just for a moment. The nature of thought is no different. It becomes addicted to movement, thoughts, and stimulation. If never slowed and calmed it remains as the restless horses. The restless horses have become fearful of their confinement.
The paradox is, our minds, even though busy and stimulated, are no less restricted. As with any addiction, it serves to distract us, from the real issue
Think of overeating. When we’re eating we’re happily enjoying the pleasure of satisfying a need. We do this to excess, when the pleasure we gain from eating, has become greater than our conscious awareness. When we’re overeating, or eating the wrong things, we’ve lost conscious control. We’re simply indulging in the pleasure and distraction we gain; we’re mindlessly bolting from the paddock to get at the lush green grass. Feelings of hunger have negative associations to food addicts. They’re blindly satisfying a need with no thought as to why.
Medicine for your mind
Firstly we must imagine that we’ve employed the services of a horse whisperer. We invite him into the paddock and watch, mesmerised as he calms the neighing, crazed wild horses. Once calmed, something magical happens. The horse whisperer is able to open the gate and gently lead the horses out. Once there they’re able to eat from the lush pasture all around. There’s no rush, there’s no wildness in their eyes, anymore. Their ears are forward and with a gentle swish of the tail they stop to stare. Once calm, there’s more for all of us to see, and explore.
Consider for a moment what the horse whisperer has achieved
How did he calm them? He calmed them by making them aware. He took the wild panic away through showing them what it was to be calm. He moved slowly and gently amongst them. He lay a calming hand on their manes. He showed them how safe it was inside the paddock. Once they understood, there was no rush to escape; no panic, fuelled by one another. He calmed the horses sufficiently for them to become aware.
Slow now, be aware of the nature, of your mind
Notice how it craves to escape. Notice. Where is it seeking to escape to? Away from itself perhaps? Away into thoughts of the past, future or fantasy? How is it we imagine these thoughts are richer than now? Is the alcoholic seeking to escape from himself? Is the food addict doing the same? Our minds have learnt to crave this wild escape; this escape from ourselves. We’ve become addicted to how it feels.
Why are meditators happier? They’re happier because they’ve regained awareness of themselves in the present moment. Imagine how it would feel to calmly explore the lush green, present-moment-pastures, the craving for mindlessness is keeping us from. Calm and still our minds will be satisfied.