Have you ever stood by the shore of a tumultuous sea and watched the waves crash like there is no tomorrow? You realise the magnanimity of the ocean, you feel insignificant, yet ever so grateful to be far away and safe. Warm and cosy too, maybe. But strangely, there is also this melancholy near agitated beaches, those seas where swimming is forbidden. I wonder why. Do you? Well, actually, forget it because this post is not about this at all! Gotcha!
Although it’s not about the sea as such, don’t you find that there is great similarity between the mind and the raging waves in a turbulent ocean? If we were unfortunately caught up in the middle of that ocean, it would feel almost impossible to come out of it alive. In fact, if we were completely swept away into the sea, we may find it extremely difficult to even realise where we are!
And the mind is really no different. We have those bad days, actually, bad weeks even. But I call them mindy moments. And it happens to the best of us. Humans. No matter how in control we may seem to be, how great a meditator we may feel we are, how grounded we may be, bad days take over our lives and leave us breathless. Those days where the mind rules and takes us wherever the hell it wants!
But as Om Swami also says, and I experienced, just like our homes, vehicles, containers and clothes need constant cleaning, so does the mind. It requires constant purification. It is perfectly okay to have mindy moments. For some of us, they may well be mindy (previously known as bad) days but the great thing is that our mindy days never last forever. They pass. But sometimes, if we allow the mind to get completely engrossed in its own game, we may forget that we have the ability to rise above the mindy days.
You see, the indicator of a turbulent mind usually lies in the way we feel. If we constantly feel restless or sad for many days on end, it’s a pretty good sign of a restless melancholic mind. Noticed the similarity between the melancholy of the turbulent sea and the turbulent mind? When we realise that we are not in our peaceful state, and really intend to stop feeling that way, then it is entirely in our hands to rise above these ‘undesirable’ moments. And trust me, it is possible.
Creating a distance between our Self and the mind is essential to take back control of our peaceful state of being. To create this distance we must first realise that there is a mind at play. We must build a nice relationship with our mind as Om Swami gently and beautifully explains here. It helps. And I promise you that I also get so engrossed in my mind sometimes that I totally forget that I am not my mind.
In fact, “I am” always comes first. Have you noticed? We say “I am” first, which is our eternal state of being. Are you ever not? No! “I am” always is!
We say “I am” first, then we add labels such as “sad”, “sorry”, “happy”, “a woman” etc etc.
We can create this distance between us and our minds/labels by taking a pause and just breathing out. When we breathe out, we break our thought pattern and slip into the “I am” state. Even if it’s only for 5 seconds. And from that state, we can be anything. The “I am” state of emptiness between two thoughts, is our true centre. And don’t try to make it academic. It’s only a breath! Yep. Just that!
I hear you say, but what about when we are so deep in the turbulent sea of the mind? Then we have to swim a little. Gently. I don’t know how to swim but I guess gentle swimming is a thing?!:) When we are too much in the mind, it takes some cajoling, some awareness about how we are feeling, and just taking a break to meditate for a few minutes, helps. It’s like swimming a little in that sea until you find a slightly less agitated space, where you can just be. Where the waves are not raging as much. Where being still will just push you with the waves, yet you will be safe. There may even be an anchor around. And in the case of our mind, our anchor is our breath.
The breath is our tool and as we keep breathing out to break our pattern of thoughts throughout the day, the mind gets cleaned. Just like the steel container, it starts shining. And if we stop the process of breathing out, the container may get dirty again. However, it isn’t the end of the world. Why? Because we know exactly how to clean it again.
And that my friend is the most beautiful thing about mastering the simple tool of centering the mind. Our bad days no longer exist, only mindy moments do. And rising above these mindy moments become a piece of cake. And you can have cake as well on top of that. A yummy, creamy one too, if you want! (Favourite pastry, anyone?) And the greatest thing about taking control of our bad days is that it entails no outsourcing. We are completely at ease, self-reliant and the guidance of our Master is our anchor.
Time and time again, I realised that it is extremely easy to forget the basics, no matter how simple it sounds. And the funny thing about us humans is that we seem quite resistant to simplicity and very attracted to complexity.I would say simplicity for the win and as our Om Swami totally vouches for it too, why not! Tried and tested. If we invest our efforts and time in learning an instrument, we can play it at will. Don’t ask me, I play no music. But hey! I know how to listen!
Similarly, if we invest our time and effort in learning the tool to rise above the mind, we can BE. Be what? Just Be! Or, well as Swami says here, in one of my most favourite quotes;
“One who knows the art of being nobody can become anybody he so wishes”
And by the way, an empty mind is a heart filled with love. And I don’t have to tell you how crazy teenage lovers are! Or adults in love for that matter! Just saying:)
“O’ Mind! Give up already!
Life is beyond your grasp
You hold on to all but life flows, letting go of all
Rest O’ Mind!
And in your sleep,
You shall also enjoy the beauty of life and love”