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Hold what is but do not hold it to be anything.
Work with all that comes from Heaven, but do not seek to hold it.
Just be empty.
The perfect man’s heart is like a mirror.
It does not search after things.
It does not look for things.
It does not seek knowledge, just responds.
As a result, he can handle everything and is not harmed by anything.
- The Book of Chuang Tzu
They tell us to clear our minds, to empty the space in our heads, to focus on non-thinking. What tool will you use to reach this state, your mind? Will you think your way out of thinking? Will you clear your thoughts with different thoughts? How will you suppress the parade of images that seem to flow freely? Even if you could press a button and reduced the chatter in your mind, how would you guarantee that only the most useful thoughts remain?
If your mind is busy, active, and creative, isn’t this obviously its natural state? If you take the position that your mind is over active, that is should be less active, aren’t you also implying that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way you are? If your position is that you have a fundamental flaw, you will likely spend a vast amount of time and energy trying to change your very nature. This type of approach to creating inner peace and a quality life experience is sure to pose constant challenges, and in many ways, puts you at odds with nature.
How can you expect to create mental harmony when you refuse to accept your fundamental nature? The human design is the product of millions of years of evolution. Is it realistic to take the position that it’s somehow not what it is supposed to be–that we should all be different than we are? Even when taking the view that we are designed intelligently, is seeking a workaround to this design respectful or appropriate?
If your goal is greater mental clarity, harmony, and contentment, then you first need to gain a realistic view of the conditions, challenges, and resources you have to work with.
There’s a better way to create harmony within yourself and between yourself and others–a way that accepts your nature and embraces your ability to move beyond confusion into clarity, harmony, and contentment.
First: Accept the nature of your mind. Rise above the need to view your design as flawed. You are not flawed–you are human. You have a special type of mind that requires an insightful approach to creating inner peace and harmony. Accept your mind as creative, imaginative, busy, and prolific. Celebrate these qualities. Enjoy the richness of your imagination.
Second: Become an observer of your mind. Become curious. Watch your mind like you would the weather. Everything you observe is natural. Accept every thought and feeling as they move through your awareness like the weather moves across the land. Resist the temptation to think of it as anything but natural. Resist the temptation to label thoughts and feelings as good or bad. Resist the temptation to suppress or clear your thoughts. Simply watch the parade with a sense of wonderment.
Third: Choose and use the thoughts that serve your values, leaving the rest behind. Know that most of your thoughts are nothing more than repetitive displays of your imagination, creative possibilities, and improbable scenarios. Be amused, but not annoyed. Be surprised, but not afraid. Be intrigued, but not irritated. Be curious, but not confused. Your mind is trying to help you by showing you possibilities, giving you choices, offering you options. Let it make these offerings, then choose the thoughts you want to use to help you reach your goals. Not all thoughts are created equal with regard to usefulness. This topic will be discussed in greater detail in a future episode.
This is your thoughtfulness practice.
There is nothing wrong with your design you only need to become more skilled in using your mind, just the way it is.
- Accept the nature of your busy mind.
- Observe your thoughts without judgment.
- Choose to follow those thoughts that serve your values.
Take this practice with you anywhere and cultivate it anytime. Use it to create more harmonious relationships, both inside yourself and between yourself and others.
When we choose this approach for ourselves and cultivate our practice, our relationships and communities will reflect the changes. All positive change begins with you. It’s easier than you think.
Thank you for joining me on this journey, and know that–You Are Loved.
Music by Layne Redmond, Greg Ellis, and Azam Ali. Cover art by Cameron Grey.
See the Credits Page to find out more about our partners.