Freedom from The Thinking Machine – Lection 1 15. November 2019 Allgemein From Overthinking to Peaceful Mind The goal of this series of 21 articles is clear: We want to end the mental chatter. Up there, inside our head, there is a tireless machine that keeps producing unnecessary thoughts, day and night. This machine drains our energy, obscures our mind, and mainly creates endless conflict and tension inside us. I call it “The Thinking Machine.” When we try to silence this machine, it seems quite resistant. Sometimes we do manage to reach that through a certain meditation or spending time in a relaxing environment—but mostly not. Why? Why can’t we achieve a relaxed mind that cooperates with us and doesn’t go against us? The answer is simple: We do not understand our mind. We do not know how it functions. How can you expect to stop an automatic process inside you as long as you don’t understand it? That is why we, first of all, require understanding, a profound understanding. This is a simple rule: Understanding the mind is one of the most powerful ways to make it silent. If you move directly to meditation without this crucial stage—as most of us attempt to do—your meditation will only be able to silence the mind temporarily. In other words, you are going to lose this silence very quickly, with the first breeze of thought that moves through your mind. But when you have understanding on your side, you can master your mind and use it only when needed. After all, there is absolutely no reason in the world to have your mind always “on.” For this reason, even though this first cycle will include some home practices as well, we will dedicate our first cycle of seven articles to a penetrating insight into the mechanism of the mind. After this cycle, we are going to take this insight with us and implement it: Our second cycle of seven articles will be dedicated to the right techniques that can help you in real time to silence your mind. And after these two cycles are over, it will be our time to delve into deeper states of silence and meditation. Finally, in the last cycle of seven articles, you will be able to enjoy your mind and be glad that you have one. Each stage will build on the previous one and complete it, since we need each cycle to be able to move onto the next level. The key insight: Your thoughts are not your own This is probably the most important insight you could ever hear about your thinking machine. It is essential to hear it already at the very beginning, even though we are going to return to it and elucidate it quite often: What you regard as “your” very own troubled mind is not yours at all. As a matter of fact, because you think it is yours, you can never really master it. It is not possible to free yourself from the thinking machine as long as you are caught in the greatest illusion—the thought that the mind is your personal problem. You wrongly assume that all the desires and fears, worries and hopes, over-planning and controlling, needing and wanting—all that is somehow your problem, something that you personally have and therefore need to face. When it is yours, it is already impossible to let go of it. This is because it is attached too closely and tightly to you. In reality, the mind we want to silence—this talkative machine—is not a personal thing at all. Everyone has it. It is the same mechanism for all of us. Of course, for each of us it dresses up in different clothes, with certain nuances—a personal touch that makes it look as if it were our “thing”: My desires, my fears, my hopes, and my worries. But we must not let the nuances confuse us. The fact that the mind works for everybody in the same way and creates exactly the same disturbances is a crucial key. The first implication is that you can see the mind as a mechanism. It works in certain automatic patterns. And when you understand how it works, it can no longer fool you. You will just think: “Oh, once again this mechanism creates fear and desire! That’s what it does for a living. But this fear or desire is not especially my own. These are not my ‘secret thoughts.’ Everyone has exactly the same thoughts.” In this way, you can finally look at the mind from the outside. It is not something that takes place inside your head. Think of the mind as an energy field that contains ripples of thought. This mental energy field hovers over your head and surrounds you and everyone else. The moment you identify a thought and think, “This is my thought,” you become a host for this thought. Now it enters your brain and becomes yours. But when you perceive the mind as an impersonal collective energy field, it is much easier to disassociate from it. Start considering this thinking machine as something that takes place around you rather than inside you. It is like the buzzing of a fly. Do you ever take the buzzing of a fly around you personally? Do you ever think, “This fly really has something personal against me, some unfinished business”? Of course not! Flies buzz and hover over our heads and do what they do. In the same way, minds produce this endless stream of thought: memories, fears, desires, wanting and needing. The nuances are not really important. For someone, this machine will create a desire for cars, and for another, a desire for sex or success. For some, it will create fear of people, and for others, fear of flights. Nonetheless, the fears and desires are just a part of a very mechanical thing. Fear is fear. Desire is desire. The very fact that I will be able to explain your mind to you throughout this series of articles—in a way that so many others will be able to understand and identify with—is because we all share this mechanism. My hope is that by the end of this journey, we will all have the ability to choose whether we want to become a host of these thoughts or not. If you could see this entire impersonal structure—how and why it works as it does—you will be able to step out of it instantly. You can actually become free from it in a second. Because this is not yours, you do not really have to solve all the problems of your mind. These are not your problems. In fact, they are not even solvable. They are like a river of thought that has no end. For now, at least, start suspecting your mind. Begin to look at it as an external phenomena, as thoughts that do not belong to you. They exist around you, almost like hearing the thoughts of somebody else. Look at all these thoughts that seem to trouble you and constantly hold on to the intelligent thought that, “These are not my special thoughts. These are just thoughts. I don’t need to deal with them at all. I don’t need to analyze and understand them. I don’t need any of that.” Because of our tendency to personalize this thinking machine, we are sometimes ashamed of our thoughts. We think, “Why do I have all this anger or greed or desire or fear or sexual fantasy inside me? This doesn’t fit my self-image at all!” The good news is that these thoughts are nothing to be ashamed of. There would be perhaps a reason to feel ashamed only if these thoughts were really your own. You can begin this with a meditation today. Simply sit with closed eyes, and whatever disturbing thought arises, externalize it, look at it as you would look at any other external phenomena. While sitting, notice how this mind is just a mind. Even if this insight is at first difficult to grasp, at least give it a try—by the end of our journey, chances are that this insight will be yours. 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