Life is not a Mental Exercise

Life is not all about thinking. Most people over think and under do. Thinking should be effortless and should not cause any anxiety.

We should be paid for our thinking, otherwise it is a waste of time. At work, we are paid to think. Aside from our duties on the job, our thinking should be minimal, because too much thinking is a source of anxiety. Too much analysis can lead to mental paralysis. The deepest and most meaningful experiences of life do not come from thinking, they come from direct experience. When we experience something through the mechanism of our thinking apparatus (the brain and mind), we are NOT experiencing directly. Thinking is a tool, and we shouldn’t become so attached to our tool that we don’t know how to put it down and just be ourselves.

When we are thinking about ourselves we are NOT being ourselves. Most of the time, people are thinking about themselves: their feelings, their memories, their expectations, wants, worries, hopes, gains and losses. This is what we call ego-driven thought. When our ego is in the driver’s seat it drives us crazy! When we falsely identify ourselves with our mind and its ups and downs, we have no peace or stability. To create balance in our lives we have to find the inner balance and then it will automatically project outward. Inner balance can only be discovered when we control our mind. In fact, inner balance means the control of the mind, and this balance is called Yoga.

A Yogi is one who practices inner balance. A Yogi practices self-restraint. The great sage, Patanjali, has clearly stated in his Yoga Shastra that Yoga is the restraint of the mind; Yoga is to make the mind one-pointed and thus stop it from fluctuating. When the mind becomes still, the Real Self is clearly reflected in the mind; that is, the expression of consciousness is no more distorted.

Too much thinking distorts our perception and cripples our ability to respond in the moment. Instead, we react or just become inert. Mental inertia means to remain stuck in our negative feelings and emotions. We might not outwardly react, but inwardly we are burning up or drowning in our own cesspool of negativity. The ‘cesspool of negativity’ also includes self-centered exciting feelings which are rooted in our small self ego. For example, you might feel excited when someone pampers your ego, but that excited feeling is not really a positive expression of consciousness, it is simply the stimulus and response mechanism of mind and ego.

Many people drink alcohol, take so-called recreational drugs, engage in promiscuous behavior, etc., all for the sake of experiencing the non-thinking state. But the feelings they experience from these activities are all negative in nature, because these selfish activities destroy the fabric of our being and make us disgusted, demented, and demoralized. ‘The fabric of our being’ is our character: it is the crystal clear quality of pure consciousness. Only the pure mind can give us the high experience of pure consciousness. People who ‘get high’ by stooping down to their selfish desires and weaknesses only go lower and lower, and eventually ‘bottom out’.

It is not possible to keep our heads high if we don’t keep our spirits high, and vice versa: we cannot keep our spirits high unless we can hold our heads high. We should become true Yogis and restrain our mind and senses, and live a life of balance. ‘Bhog’ means enjoyment, and a Bhogi Yogi is a bogus yogi, a hypocrite and a fraud. Similarly, those people who waste their life away in the shallow enjoyments of the mind and ego, defraud themselves out of their own Real Nature. We rob ourselves of our own true nature when we think and connive in our mind about how to make ourselves permanently happy with the temporary things of this world.

Life is not all about thinking, and thinking, and thinking. Life is all about experiencing our True Nature, our Eternity. For that, we need to silence the mind. To silence the mind, we need to remove our mental disturbances with the wisdom of Consciousness. OM

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