Desires, dreams, hopes, fears
Take us through valleys of tears
Every moment a door opens to inner peace. It is in the gap between thoughts. However, we are not sensitive to its presence. The mind grows when our attention is in the grosser realm of thoughts. While facilitating the mind’s expansion, we lose sensitivity to the presence of inexhaustible joy within. Instead, we work hard at strengthening the pillars of the mind by personalizing desires, dreams, hopes, and fears.
Thoughts build a firm foundation whenever we turn our awareness towards one of these four pillars. They grow in proportion to one another. When there is a desire, there is also a fear of it not materializing. It lurks in the background.
When there is fear, hope rises as a counterweight. Hope creates the building blocks for dreams, which generate more desires. As this cycle repeats, the tension in the mind builds. At some point, the elastic will snap. The mind unravels, and there may be a meltdown.
We are just one thought away from a pit of misery or the door to inner peace and joy. We cannot avoid the mind, especially when it is full of thoughts. It is right in the sweet spot of our awareness.
Unattached to any thought, awareness is like a smooth, soft, and delicate piece of cloth. When we saturate the same material with water, it becomes coarse and dense. It does not dry instantly. We will have to wring out the excess water and let it dry. Likewise, it takes time to loosen attachment and lessen identification with our thoughts.
‘Wringing’ the mind our attachment to thoughts is painful, but a necessary step in our inner journey. Replacing the superficial layer of thoughts with a more desirable set will not suffice. Awareness will continue to remain ‘soaked, wet, and heavy.’ It cannot fly free in the inner sky.
Passive resistance to thoughts, through non-reaction, will help free our awareness. Mere intellectualization will not help. We will have to dive into the depths where thoughts have their anchors firmly in place and cut their roots. This involves observing all the sensations that bubble up in the mind without reacting to any of them.
Thoughts flow in the valley between two peaks—the past and the future. It is a continuous stream from birth to death. Deeper our intensity of identification with these thoughts, the swifter is the current of the mind. Will power helps keep us centered when the flow of thoughts and the sensations they generate in the mind threaten to sweep us away.
Like a storm that eventually subsides, there will be moments where the mind is relatively free of thoughts. Being non-reactive and strengthening willpower will make it easy to remain alert as one wave of thought passes, making way for another.
We can make use of this interval to explore gaps between thoughts. As we do this, we may notice that with each successive wave of thoughts, desires, hopes, dreams, and fears change. It is like standing at the edge of the waterline at the beach. As waves come in, the surf submerges our feet, and when the waves recede, our feet become visible. Each one has a different form. But our feet remain unchanged and in one place.
The mind is like the surface of an ocean. There are endless thought waves. Just as we cannot empty an ocean, it is impossible to rid the mind of all its thoughts. But, when we adopt a witnessing attitude, we separate ourselves from the changing nature of our thoughts. We are the changeless perceiver of thoughts.
A non-reactive state of witnessing brings us closer to the true self. The mind has the freedom to operate according to its nature. We maintain this separation as long as we don’t cling to desires and harbor fears. Consequently, we avoid the heartbreak and tears that accompany dashed hopes and dreams.