Peace of Mind
“A new world is only a new mind.”
William Carlos Williams
You are much BIGGER and far greater than your thoughts alone. Many people forget that & instead identify so strongly with their thoughts that they create psychological prisons filled with fears, anxiety, un-true beliefs, & egoic desires. Then they sentence themselves to live within that severely limited reality.
As writer-philosopher Tom Cheetham brought to the foreground of my consciousness years ago, it’s been a long time since many of us have really experienced the world. Instead, we experience a constriction of it, a selection of it, a lack of breadth and depth. We step out cautiously checking ourselves against ‘what is allowed’ and ‘what is known’.
We throw a world out ahead of ourselves and move safely into it. We have found our way into a closed world and mistaken it for infinity.
Wouldn’t you prefer to see clearly? To enter each moment fresh and new, un-hindered from the past, with no pre-conceived notions of what the next moment is supposed to be? If you are lacking peace or are discontent with where you see your life heading, or if there is something you know needs to change but you don’t know where to begin, remember this - all you must do to ignite the process of self-transformation is alter your perception.
Easier said than done? At least you have the formula and the key. They are one in the same: your big, beautiful, rambunctious, imaginative, limitless (& limiting), ever-expanding mind.
Some of my favorite ways to move beyond my mind and experience dramatic perception shifts include: traveling, open-hearted conversations with diverse individuals, entering altered states of consciousness (via meditation, sacred ceremonies, music & dance), Kundalini yoga, sohbet with a Beloved, reading spiritual texts & poetry, surrounding myself with highly evolved beings (animal versions, too!) and spending time in Nature…especially in forests, near snowy mountains, and under the stars.
One of my favorite mountains, along with my favorite star system. Both are my home. My friend
Lubosh took this picture of the mountain for me and combined it with a picture from NASA.
The Mind Funnel
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
- W.B. Yeats
There is magic for you to experience in the world every moment. Move your mind out of the way and see! Don’t be upset if you are unfamiliar or out of touch with what lies beyond the mind. We can get you back. Yes, back. It’s where you came from. I’m here to help you access and embrace that mystery for what it truly is: more real than any narrow-minded, thought-heavy way of seeing.
But don't I need my mind? Yes, you need your mind. Your mind helps filter Reality. Without that funnel, you would be bombarded by a bewildering, unexplainable, multi-dimensional overload. You would run the risk of death by astonishment. The Light, so to speak, would blind you.
And though one of the goals of a seeker’s journey is to widen the funnel in order to continually take on more & more of unfiltered Reality, there remains a necessity in cultivating a healthy & focused mind. Language, for one, is a tool of the mind that helps us articulate & understand Reality. As well, we live in a physical world that requires practical interactions within our culture, as well as a bit of organization to keep our 'civilized' lives rolling along.
Even so, never forget: your mind is merely a part of you, just as your hand, foot, or arm is just a part of a larger body. Imagine if you had no control over your arms? What if they flailed around wildly knocking over cups of teas and shattering picture frames? What if they grabbed strangers unexpectedly and got you into all sorts of trouble? This is the current state of most people’s minds! Completely out of control.
States of Mind
For many human beings a ‘normal’ state of mind is madness. Rather than having their minds remain dutifully on call to work for them, many people allow their mind to do whatever it pleases, whenever it pleases. In India it is said, “the mind is maya” meaning delusion. Buddhists refer to the mind as "dukkha" which translates as suffering or misery.
Tibetan Buddhists divide the idea of mind into two distinct categories: sem and Rigpa. Sem can be thought of as the small-minded-mind which possesses a sense of duality. It grasps. It rejects. It plots. It manipulates. It can flare up in desire or anger. It notices the “other” and can only function in relation to a projected external reference point. Sem is flickering, unstable, an untamed, unruly beast! A wild & feverish monkey swinging from tree to tree! Rigpa, on the other hand, is primordial, pure, pristine, awake, radiant awareness. It is the knowledge of knowledge itself, steady and unchanging. Rigpa can be thought of as Ultimate Reality. The nature of Self is the nature of Rigpa.
If sem is the temporary waves upon the ocean (ever-changing due to winds and tides), Rigpa is the ocean itself.
Mind Survivor’s Anonymous
Hello, my name is Jaclyn, and I was once addicted to my mind. I was completely lost inside her, grasped by her dirty talons, thrashing about helplessly. But not anymore! I am now a proud survivor of my mind.
How sweetly I remember the first time I fully stepped outside my mind. It was during a sacred ceremony the night I met a beloved shaman we’ll call The Medicine Father - a healer, priest, doctor, conduit between the material and spiritual worlds.
“Show me what you’ve got!” I challenged the spirits before The Medicine Father began the ceremony. “I’m ready. I can handle it. Bring it on full-throttle!”
An hour later, I was curled into a ball on the floor (far from the respectable lotus pose I was meant to be maintaining) crying under a pink blanket, completely in awe of a more real Reality than I’d ever experienced before. The initiation into that Reality had begun with the removal of my mind. (It was sucked out from my ear, to be exact, by some sort of spirit-creature entities.)
I remember watching my mind from the outside-in and realizing how severely it had been limiting me. My mind was not the be-all-end-all source of ‘what is’ or ought to be. It was just a sea of self-constructed thoughts that had little to do with ultimate Reality. This made me shudder, laugh, and cry. Being a writer, counselor/guide, and professor, I do much of my work deep inside the hazardous mind-factory. I thought, “How futile, my professions! How futile, the mind! Why have I chosen to devote my life to working within a construct that is more illusion than Reality?” As quickly as I asked the questions, I was filled with a reply. “You need to help people navigate their way through their own minds. You must help people refine their most incredible endowment.”
The mind is like a diamond. It can cut through anything.
Still, my mind felt like a burden to me, and I momentarily wished I’d been born more of a simpleton.
As a creative individual, I have a vivid imagination, and, as one of my good friend’s says, “a big engine under the hood.” So gaining control of my mind has been a life-long adventure. Today, I am grateful to be able to process the world through my mind as thoroughly as I do, and I no longer wish to dim my intellectual capabilities or will myself to ignorance.
Instead, I work on the ability to keep my mind alive and alert but capable of moving into silence when I need it to. I help my clients do the same - when they want to think, they can; when they don’t want to think, they move into non-thinking.
I urge my clients to always ‘remain the witness’, watching the mind. Smile and wave as the thoughts go by. They are not a permanent part of you; they are just passing through. Remember not to internalize any harmful information that enters from the outside. When someone plants a negative thought-seed in your mind, immediately un-plant it! Imagine a bird carrying it away. Imagine a caring, old Grandfather sweeping your mind clean with a broom. Pick an image, any image - just get rid of that seed! It will not grow unless you nurture it. The same holds true for negative thoughts you create about yourself. A friend told me about the “rat bats” he sets loose in his mind so they can swoop around and eat up all the negative thoughts. Hey, it works for him…
You can (and should) train your mind to follow new patterns of positive thinking because the more you refuse to entertain negative thoughts, the more they stop arriving.
Remember: only if you grant power to something can it have power over you.
Most importantly, NEVER speak negative thoughts out loud. This is like feeding the Mogwai after midnight. Remember what happens? They turn into Gremlins! Once you verbally acknowledge a negative thought, you’ve done that thought a favor by bringing it one step closer to becoming a reality. A mantra: I observe my thoughts and entertain only those that empower me.
A Note on Worrying
“I’ve been through a lot of horrible things in my life… some of them actually happened.”
- Mark Twain
Our emotions attack our bodies at the cellular level. Here are the worst offenders: Fear, Hate, Worry, Anxiety, Bitterness, Impatience, Greed, Unkindness, Shame & Resentment. Our neurons can’t tell the difference between real and imaginary experiences. They register frequent use patterns of perception that then influence our succeeding perception. Translation: humans have the unique ability to suffer through imaginary possibilities. As we work together, I'll help you break through any unhealthy sense of Reality you have. You'll learn to release thoughts that promote stress, anger, worry, shame & other limiting frameworks.
If desired, I'll also share meditation techniques to keep you present and at peace. Meditation - or stillness of the mind - is not a physical posture; it is an inner position in relationship to your own experiences. Being still means having no relationship to anything that is happening, has happened, or ever will happen. It is the posture of freedom. This sort of detachment is different from ‘not caring.’ This meditative way of moving through life involves seeing clearly without being uncontrollably wrapped up in any event, person, or situation. Mindfulness is being able to say, “I am not bound to the spectacle I’m witnessing.” When you are still and detached, you’re able to interact with the world around you while at the same time maintaining awareness of a much greater context than your personal experience. As you practice this, you will keep rediscovering that you are not a prisoner to your emotions or your mind.
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