2. Don’t let your mind use you
Use your mind, don’t let it use you!
From east to west, different philosophers say the same thing about the mind. Everyone talks about how the source of all problems is we. Everything we encounter in our lives is created by us, with our own thoughts, words, and actions. If we want to change our lives, we have to change our thoughts, our words (the inner monologue), and our actions. Because otherwise, no matter how many techniques we try, nothing changes, or only temporarily, and then everything returns to the old pattern.
I am free to choose my thoughts, if I want to start the path to wallowing in a puddle, or I can decide at the beginning that I want to stay calm and in equilibrium. Whatever we think, emotions are associated with it. Feelings determine our actions. We feel the feelings. We decide to feel them; no one from the outside puts them into us. If, after the initial event, we decide what we want to think, we are free to choose the associated emotions, events, actions, and results. Because we cannot change the event, it has already happened. But we can change our thoughts.
There is a part of the mind that can intervene and pull our calculations through. Because it always explains, invents stories, ‘creates’ the non-existent from existent, and existent out of the non-existent. The mind can turn a flea into an elephant that imagines all kinds of things behind every unspoken word; chasing the thoughts around in our head so that we cannot get out of the loop. It is able to whisper all kinds of bad things about us in our ears: “you’re like an idiot again”, “you’re not capable of this”, “you’re a pile of misfortune”, “your husband must be doing this and that with this and that woman”…
And this little machine in our head can cause so much suffering that we spend our whole lives trying to deal with it. (In fact, this is so even in our following lives, because we carry the memories and imprints produced by it in our subconscious mind into our next lives as well.) What is important to it, is that it should be the centre of everything. At all cost. If necessary, even in the worst way, because it wants to control us. In the last case, it even destroys us, i.e. our body, in order to gain victory over us. But the mind cannot be destroyed, only tamed, and made into our friend.
“A defeated mind becomes the best friend and an undisciplined one becomes the greatest enemy. He who has conquered his mind has not only reached peace, but has also reached the soul. For such a person, happiness or suffering, cold or heat, honor or dishonor are all the same.” (Bhagavad-gita: 6. 6-7)
So, we live our lives full of suffering and we believe that life is full of suffering. Our thoughts cause suffering, but life is just happening. Yet we believe that our lives must be changed in order for the suffering to go away. And we try everything, e.g. change schools or travel to the other side of the world, but somehow we still don’t have peace because we take our minds with us. It soon adapts to the new environment and resumes its childhood games. All it takes is a look, a smell, a colour, a sound, and the button is pressed. Old patterns come up and we continue in autopilot. Unconsciously.
So, what is the solution?