How much of your time do you spend lost in your thoughts, and over analyzing things to the point of madness? If you are like most people in our modern and chaotic world, then it is likely that you spend too much time overthinking.
And while it can be difficult for us to move past the thinking process when we are plagued with worry and doubt, it is possible. Not only is it possible, but according to Buddhist Master Osho, it is much simpler than most of us would like to believe. However, the first step that we must take is to realize that the thoughts don’t go away. Our brain doesn’t have the ability to stop thinking.
“THINKING cannot be stopped. Not that it does not stop, but it cannot be stopped. It stops of its own accord. This distinction has to be understood, otherwise, you can go mad chasing your mind. No-mind does not arise by stopping thinking. When the thinking is no more, no-mind is. The very effort to stop will create more anxiety, it will create conflict, it will make you split. You will be in a constant turmoil within. This is not going to help.”
But, Osho does agree that it is possible to stop our thoughts through force. However, he explains that this alone will not bring us any peace.
“And even if you succeed in stopping it forcibly for a few moments, it is not an achievement at all — because those few moments will be almost dead, they will not be alive. You may feel a sort of stillness, but not silence, because a forced stillness is not silence. Underneath it, deep in the unconscious, the repressed mind goes on working. So, there is no way to stop the mind. But the mind stops — that is certain. It stops of its own accord.”
Thankfully, Osho has a very valid suggestion.
“Watch — don’t try to stop. There is no need to do any action against the mind. In the first place, who will do it? It will be mind fighting mind itself. You will divide your mind into two; one that is trying to boss over — the top-dog — trying to kill the other part of itself, which is absurd. It is a foolish game. It can drive you crazy. Don’t try to stop the mind or the thinking — just watch it, allow it. Allow it total freedom. Let it run as fast as it wants. You don’t try in any way to control it. You just be a witness. It is beautiful!”
As you begin to make this a habit, Osho says that you will develop a gap between the observer and the mind, which he says is a ‘taste of Zen.’
“The deeper your watchfulness becomes, the deeper your awareness becomes, and gaps start arising, intervals. One thought goes and another has not come, and there is a gap. One cloud has passed, another is coming and there is a gap. In those gaps, for the first time, you will have glimpses of no-mind, you will have the taste of no-mind. Call it taste of Zen, or Tao, or Yoga. In those small intervals, suddenly the sky is clear and the sun is shining. Suddenly the world is full of mystery because all barriers are dropped. The screen on your eyes is no more there.”
And it is this ‘non-attached’ witnessing that eventually grants us control over our minds, rather than leaving us enslaved to our thoughts.
“Non-attached witnessing is the way to stop it without any effort to stop it. And when you start enjoying those blissful moments, your capacity to retain them for longer periods arises. Finally, eventually, one day, you become master. Then when you want to think, you think; if thought is needed, you use it; if thought is not needed, you allow it to rest. Not that mind is simply no more there: mind is there, but you can use it or not use it. Now it is your decision. Just like legs: if you want to run you use them; if you don’t want to run you simply rest — legs are there.”
Osho continues by explaining that while there are a number of ways to reign in control over our minds, that drugs are not one of them. Instead, drugs can do much more harm than good.
“The modern mind is in much hurry. It wants instant methods for stopping the mind. Hence, drugs have appeal. Mm? — you can force the mind to stop by using chemicals, drugs, but again you are being violent with the mechanism. It is not good. It is destructive. In this way, you are not going to become a master. You may be able to stop the mind through the drugs, but then drugs will become your master — you are not going to become the master. You have simply changed your bosses, and you have changed for the worse.”
He instead offers meditation as a very useful alternative.
“Meditation is not an effort against the mind. It is a way of understanding the mind. It is a very loving way of witnessing the mind — but, of course, one has to be very patient. This mind that you are carrying in your head has arisen over centuries, millennia. Your small mind carries the whole experience of humanity — and not only of humanity: of animals, of birds, of plants, of rocks. You have passed through all those experiences.
All that has happened up to now has happened in you also. In a very small nutshell, you carry the whole experience of existence. That’s what your mind is. In fact, to say it is yours is not right: it is collective; it belongs to us all.”
It may feel as though it is impossible not to get sucked into the chaos that is a produced by our busy lives. However, while it is quite easy to get pulled into the vicious cycle of worry, there is a way to end that cycle. And this wonderful technique could prove beneficial in other areas of our lives as well.
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