How much mind do you need to use?
When you're involved in an activity, whether it's intense, such as working to meet a work deadline, or low-pressure, such as walking through a park, do you ever thinking about how much you need to think at that time? In other words: Have you considered to what degree to use your mind to help you?
Most of us simply let our minds do what they do, which is to continuously work at solving problems, figuring out puzzles, providing alternatives, and basically showing us all sorts of possibilities. This is normal, but is it in our best interest? If you've never considered using 'less mind," consider it now.
When do we really NEED to use the power of our mind? Of course it should be easy to think of some examples. Doing a math or geometry problem, writing a story or technical paper, reading a map, debating a topic, etc. Most people would say that we need our minds most of the time and perhaps that is true. But could it be that there are many times when we not only do not need to use the power of our minds as much?
Consider times when you don't need to use your mind. This could be when you're sitting by a river, taking in the beautify with all your senses; walking in a forested area, swinging on a swing, floating in the ocean, resting, etc. These are times where there is little need for the mind. Why? Because there is no puzzle to figure out–no mystery to solve–no problem to resolve.
The problem in these situations often comes about as a result of the activity of the mind! When we are not able to allow our 'beingness' to be the focus, feeling the sensations of life, allowing our senses to guide us into the perfect and present moment, we begin to suffer. We suffer as our minds continue to work away at fictional problems, provide us with more and more scenarios to situations that have long past, and fill our attention with a seemingly endless stream of what-ifs.
Thoughtfulness teaches us that our mind is a tool that we can use to help us solve complex problems. It teaches us that it is an organ inside our body, whose job it is to provide us with possibilities, solutions, and alternatives. Knowing this, we can manage the mind's outflow of imagery and, rather than having an aversion to it's offerings, have gratitude for this amazing resource.
So rather than saying to ourselves: "Oh my, I have 'monkey-mind' and I feel overwhelmed. I don't know what to do.", we can say (to our mind) thank you for these offerings, but I am not in need of any help right now. I have everything I need already. In this way, you can let your mind know that you're OK.
When we form a loving relationship with our mind, like we would with a child who is trying his best to help, we can ease the frenetic energy of the mind, and as a result, the body. We can bring our mind-body into harmony by not resisting the mind, but at the same time, not allowing the mind to run the show, so to speak.
So when we're sitting by a river or walking in the forest, we can send a message of understanding to our mind that there's no need to solve problems. We can say "Thank you, but not now. Perhaps later." We can use less mind and more body. When we focus on our senses, we become more mindful of ourselves and our surroundings. We deepen our relationship with the present perfect moment and the world as it is in its true beauty. When we do that, we focus on what truly matters and find beauty reflected in ourselves and everything around us.
This is mindfulness.
This is the Thoughtfulness practice of Matter over Mind.
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