Mind

April 4, 2016

“Who blows as thought inside your mind? Is it your voice you listen to, screaming its criticisms at you, mocking you, leaving you ashamed and hopeless? Who speaks to you like this? Who calls you names and goads you, saying, ‘Do better; you must do better.’ Who laughs at you? Who holds as its prime objective your belittlement, your diminishment? Who, in short, hates you so much? Understandably, you imagine that the answer to all of these questions is, ‘Me—I do this to myself.’ But it isn’t true; it doesn’t work like that. The mind berating you functions independent of your own voice, independent of your intentions, independent of your personality and self-expression. The mind functions like an organism with its own agenda, and it berates you because it is thereby successful in promoting that agenda. Your mind loathes you because that is what works, that is what keeps you small and safe and comfortable, though miserable. And even though you did not begin your self-loathing, you attach to it, you take it as gospel, you believe it as true. And so you mimic it, you do on purpose what your mind does automatically. It is difficult to stop the mind in its functioning, but it is not so difficult to end your attachment to it. You love it the way a slave loves his master, without perspective and without wisdom. You love it desperately, but your heart could not be in that love because your heart will have no part of self-hatred. And so I ask you to consider what makes you listen to all this self-hatred, what mesmerizes you about it. Why do you cling to it? Why don’t you divorce yourself from your own thought? Is it some sense of a free-floating emptiness that waits for you if you do so? Is it fear, some terror you are no longer protected from? Or is it simply that if you do, you won’t know yourself at all and you’ll be faced with the simple fact that you are a stranger even after so long in your own company? Why do you insist on your marriage to your mind? Why love something that makes you miserable? Your mind isn’t punishing you; you punish yourself by believing it. Your mind is nobody’s voice—not God’s, not your own, not your enemy’s, and not your friend’s. Your mind is made up of the things that will keep you small, and this self-loathing does just that.

Care enough for your own future and your own happiness to seek a divorce from your own thinking. There is a stillness that is possible even in the mind full of criticisms, but it can only begin if you will listen to something other than your self-loathing thoughts. Listen to the song that is in the trees, listen to the wind, listen to your own breath, life at work inside you—or listen to silence, that blessing of emptiness full of itself. Listen to anything else, but don’t listen to your thinking; there is no love there and there is no happiness, and there is nothing, ever, for you to learn from it.”

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