Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Unruly Mind

Posted by Robert Darby

Learning how to free ourselves from the tyranny of the unruly mind is not easy. Most of us have been the victims of the chaos of our own mind for so long that we don't even recognize that there is a need to do anything about it. What problem? Yet in a very real sense we are slaves to an endless dance of impulsive reaction to the thoughts generated by our mind and the emotions that those thoughts initiate. But even if we somehow become aware of this situation and realize that we probably should develop some level of mental and emotional self discipline, we encounter a strong resistance to such a task. Why?

Why would we want to remain slaves to our unruly mind? Do we not want to be free? Well, like so many things in life today, it just isn't that simple. While the concept of developing self discipline may not be complicated, actually traveling the path to achieve it can get downright ugly. I once read a book where the author compared training the mind to training a wild elephant. You tie the elephant to a stake in the ground and let it rage until it realizes that it isn't going anywhere and settles down, at which point you can begin to feed it and train it.

First Contact With Crazy

I smiled when I read this because I remembered my own early experiences during meditation. You should know that there is one task that is common to almost all forms and techniques of meditation, and that is the development of a certain level of concentration. It is in fact, one of the first requirements in the development of meditation skills. The development of concentration requires that we develop mental self discipline and this means training our mind. What does training a wild elephant have to do with training our mind?

Anyone who has tried to develop skills in meditation eventually discovers the crazy behavior of the undisciplined mind. It is one of the first major challenges that must be overcome before moving on in meditation. And if you have encountered this crazy mind, then you know that it is like the raging elephant that must be calmed before any real work can be done. In the world of meditation, the goal here is called mindfulness. Mindfulness is the state of consciousness that is able to be aware of the activities of the mind without getting caught up in the event cycle of impulsive response and reactions. Mindfulness simply notices everything internally and externally and then lets go of it and brings the minds attention and focus back to some object of concentration.

Resistance To Discipline

The development of mindfulness is the method by which we can develop mental self discipline. The simple act of meditating and watching the chaotic activities of our own mind and mindfully noticing when we have been captured by our own thoughts and have somehow been in the past or future for the last five or ten minutes is the act of mindfulness and when we experience this state of consciousness and bring our awareness back to the here and now and the object of our attention and concentration, we are developing mental self discipline. This is not easy, especially in the beginning.

Why is this so difficult? Why would we resist something that has the potential to set us free from tyranny and essentially give us unlimited power over our own lives? The answers to these questions are not easy either. These answers are found in the scary territory of self awareness, which involves the exploration and discovery of not only what we do, but also why we do what we do or don't do. We may discover that not having any mental discipline serves some purpose that we may or may not even be aware of. We may intuitively perceive that the development of mental discipline will open up doors much like dominoes falling and begin to reveal thing that we invest a great deal of energy into avoiding. Yes! We may be heavily invested in not becoming aware of many things on many levels, and our slavery is a trade off we have accepted somewhere along the way.

Strength Courage And Faith

It all seems to get down to whether we want happiness and tranquility in our lives and are willing to make the effort it takes to acquire these conditions or we have somehow become comfortable with our fear and ignorance and the stress and insecurity that are the consequences and price for our surrender to our weaknesses. Are we willing to be the victims of the whims of life or are we ready to take up the challenge and become the architects and masters of our lives?

Slavery is easy, personal power is difficult. The truth here is that we are the Human adaptation of life and this means that we have unlimited creative power available to us if we have the strength, courage and faith to take possession of it. This is the difference between living in the darkness of fear and ignorance or the light of truth and knowledge. So, make sure that your stake is strong and driven firmly into the ground and tie your elephant securely to it until it settles down and then begin the journey of a lifetime. ###

Robert Darby is a self change and personal development specialist who writes for many organizations including The Agenda Of Life Foundation. He focuses on developing personal power since that is usually the cause of all human problems. Robert takes a practical approach in that he looks at the various tools and techniques out there that are designed to help us achieve our mental, spiritual and emotional goals.

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