In their book, Stealing Fire, Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal calculated that the industry of ‘shutting off the self’ is worth $4 trillion a year. It’s not surprising because the mind, lost in its own creations can be torture, it creates conflict, stress, disease and misery.
Of course, we would be driven to find ways to turn off that suffering. But without an understanding of what the mind really is, mind management is just a playing out of confusion.
The self exists as a thought or belief or as a state of mind. It arises in that moment in whatever appearance it takes on. It doesn’t exist outside of that. The idea of who we are is whatever the mind is doing in that moment.
For the self to try to manage the mind creates a false separation and unfulfillable effort. Because self and mind are the same thing. A belief trying to manage other beliefs creates a circular confusion that goes nowhere.
We can see this in techniques like meditation and mindfulness which can be extraordinarily powerful when they are understood for what they are and frustrating and hopeless when they are not.
Meditation is the making transparent of all thought. It is the witnessing of whatever activity of mind there is.
It is a spotlight placed on the whole activity of mind – which has to include all idea of self.
All of it – including the idea of self – is seen for the transient procession it is. The way the self appears in thought is no different from any other thought. And so, the whole idea of reality, the whole idea of circumstance, events and concepts AND the whole idea of self are seen for what they are: thought.
But when the self and mind are not understood and meditation is believed to be a way that the self can control thought or clear the mind or make the self peaceful, then an inner battle is set up that only creates more unrest.
The self is judging itself. The self is trying to control itself. Yet it is that very activity of attempting to manage all this that IS the activity of mind. The attempt to manage IS the busyness.
When it looks like the self is separate from the thoughts and beliefs then there is confusion. When it is understood that everything is made of thought then the whole activity of mind is seen for what it is.
It is the same with mindfulness. When we are striving to be mindful, then the very opposite of what mindfulness sets out to achieve is happening.
Mindfulness is the space of presence in which whatever arises is fully experienced or felt. Mindfulness is a description of what we really are. That is what we are. That space.
And the idea of self is only an activity that obscures that absolute space and presence. The idea of self makes us out to be a limited separate being. And this is hiding the infinite space of completeness that we really are.
Mind techniques, with the understanding that the activity of mind is the self, are extraordinarily powerful pointers to what is true.
Without it, they are just additional confusion and seeking activity that further hides our true nature.
In our next on-line course: ‘REST, getting real with genuine relaxation and effortless effort’ we will explore the understanding of the mind that makes mind management redundant. In the course we will explore the following areas:
Section 1: Confusion
The fundamental misunderstanding
Exhaustion and stress
Section 2: Alignment
Understanding is the falling away of beliefs not the creation of new ones
No-self accountability – no doer and yet ownership and learning
Section 3: Relaxing into problem solving
Ending the problems of self protection
Seeking out problems of form
Section 4: a life of creative ease
Insight / shifts
Sleep / rest / time away
Creativity and intention
REST begins on May 1st 2022 (or if you are reading this at a later date, it is available as a private study course). It costs £247 as a stand-alone course or there are savings via the membership programme, click here for details.