The Human Mind is a wonderful masterpiece that has immense potentials. Most of the potentials, however, remain unused at most people, since it is not us who are in charge of things, our Mind takes control of us. Our Mind is rushing through life with us like a car running without a driver, causing us constant suffering and sorrow. But if we were able to control our Mind, our life would change completely. This mad speeding would change into a beautiful, creative dance, giving us happiness, instead of pain. The question is therefore, how we are able to take control over our Mind?

The Nature of the Mind

In order to control something, we first need to know the thing concerned¸ so we must know our Mind so as to be in charge of it. The most important thing we need to about our Mind is that it is not something that exists separately, individually, like some inanimate object. The Mind is not an object–it is a process. The process of constantly streaming thoughts. This stream of the thoughts is what we perceive as the Mind. When these thoughts disappear, the Mind disappears with them, as the two are only able to exist together. The very basic nature of thoughts is that they are in a constant move, and this motion, almost automatically, creates the Mind.

A characteristic feature of our Mind is that it keeps roaming, wandering; it operates in something like an automatic mode. Thoughts come and go all the time. If we attempt to suppress them, it is only possible with considerable efforts, and even then to a short time only. In most of our waking time, our Mind wanders either in the past or in the future, in our thoughts we deal with our experience of the past, offences we suffered in the past, or with our future plans, goals and fears.

Another characteristic of our Mind is that it constantly evaluates things. It means that we do not simply live through our experiences, but we also categorize them as good or bad. We judge everything that happens to us and everybody we meet in our lives. This permanent categorization may easily lead to a distorted perception of the world, as we evaluate our new experiences in these categories. If we find an experience negative, we will tend to keep–and reinforce–that category for similar experiences in the future. Our perception will therefore be selective, and we will only accept the stimuli that reinforces our categorization, and we tend to ignore those that fall outside our usual categories.

The third important characteristic of the Mind is that it permanently produces stories. These stories often have a disastrous end. For instance, I suddenly try to remember whether I locked the door of my home or not. The Mind immediately fabricates a whole story around the idea: I did leave it open, a burglar came, my valuables have been stolen, and the police, instead of chasing the thief, will harass me with their questions. We often experience the ends and emotional consequences of these stories. Another type of stories deals with us, who are we, what are we like, what we should do or should have done. The entirety of these stories comprises our personal histories.

A Foolish Game

Most people tend to identify with their thoughts and personal histories, that is, with their Minds. A lot of us are not satisfied with what we are, and we would like to have a better and more beautiful personal history. That is why we create a mental image of our desired personal development, and the ways of making the work of our Minds more effective.

In order to achieve the mental image we ourselves have created, we embark on a foolish game, as we attempt to bring our Minds under our own control, and be the masters of our own development. Since we do not know the nature of the Mind, this venture is destined to failure right from the beginning.

This game is foolish, since in fact one half of the Mind attempts to bring the other half under control. Our Mind itself deems our own mental image of our personal development good. At the same time, this half of the Mind deems the other half, the one we wish to change, bad. Mental images fight against each other, trying to overcome each other, using the weapons of selective perception and story fabrication. The struggle goes on, with changing luck, all through our lives. Sometimes we believe that we are making some progress, we are improving, and a few weeks, months or years later we drop into the abyss of despair.

A lot of us play this foolish game all through our lives, because we are unable to recognize the simple fact that a Mind is unable to overcome itself. We may, perhaps, with the utmost effort, suppress what we believe is bad in us. That is, however, just a virtual victory, leading us to virtual calm and personal development, because when our power declines, the suppressed forces break out again, destroying all the temporary results that we achieved previously, washing away the results of our personal development.

The Freedom of Tolerance

Now we can see that the way leading to our control over our Minds does not lead through suppressing them. It is not possible to control the Mind in the ordinary sense of the word. Partly because it only exists in its functions and operation, and partly because there is nobody to control it. One half of the Mind, as we have seen, does not control, only suppresses the other half.

In order to be able to control our Minds, we must step outside of them. This statement may sound surprising to a lot of us, since we tend to fully identify with our Minds and their operations. As long as this identification is strong, we shall not be able to step outside the crazy dance of our Minds; we will have to merely suffer its consequences.

Nowadays, however, more and more of us begin to realize and experience that we are more than our Minds, more that our thoughts and emotions, and the personal history these thoughts and emotions build up. Our attention is no longer completely engaged by telling our personal history and identifying with that personal history, and we become more and more sensitive to the deeper dimensions of our life. We also begin to notice the breaks between thoughts, and we begin to turn towards these gates leading beyond the Mind.

In these breaks between thoughts, Mind does not work, it is not there–it simply vanishes. What is left there is the alertly watching Consciousness. If we are able to take roots in that alert Consciousness, we recognize that this watching alertness is tolerant with the Mind and its operations. We shall see that there is nothing wrong with thoughts, nothing wrong with the operations of the Mind. It is not necessary to struggle against the Mind, as it is not an enemy, only an instrument that, without control, tends to function chaotically.

We only have a chance to know the true nature of thoughts and the functions of the Mind if we detach ourselves from them, keep a distance, and do not consider them as enemies. They will reveal their secrets to the alert Consciousness, watching with affection, and we will see the subtle shades of the Mind, the games it plays and the dreams it evokes.

Controlling the Mind

This tolerant, alert, watching attitude to the functions of the Mind will give us the ability of stopping our thinking effortlessly. Once thinking has been suspended, the continuous stream of thoughts stops, the Mind itself disappears and stops working.

Now we shall not seek our own identity in an identification with the Mind, since we have found our real center, our real self, our alertly watching Consciousness. We will be aware that thoughts and the Mind have not really disappeared, they are still there, only in a dormant state. Our attitude to thoughts and the Mind will entirely change at that moment. We think when necessary, and we do not need the Mind, we put it aside. The Mind no longer dominates our life, it is not more than an obedient tool that we use or not use as we please.

That is when we realize how wonderful an instrument the Mind is, and now we are able to use it for its original purpose. And the purpose of the Mind is to serve as a means of connections, to connect us to the world, to each other. Through the Mind, used with alert Consciousness, creative energies are released to the world, and create a wonderful harmony there.

Original source: The Mind Unleashed

Learn more here>> Frank M. WandererThe Revolution of Consciousness: Deconditioning the Programmed Mind

A new study has found an association between meditation and wisdom.

Researchers with the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology have found that meditation, and physical practices such as ballet, might lead to increased wisdom. The study, “The Relationship between Mental and Somatic Practices and Wisdom,” was published in PLOS ONE.

The researchers gave 298 participants a survey that asked about their experiences practicing meditation, the Alexander Technique (a method for improving posture, balance, coordination, and movement), the Feldenkrais Method (a form of somatic education that seeks to improve movement and physical function, reduce pain, and increase self-awareness), and classical ballet. The participants also answered psychological exams related to various elements of wisdom, such as empathy and anxiety.

The team found that individuals who practiced meditation had characteristics associated with wisdom more often than the other groups. The types of meditation being practiced include vipassana, mindfulness, and Buddhist. The researchers also found that participants who practiced ballet had the lowest levels of wisdom, but with consistent practice of ballet individuals scored higher on measures of psychological traits typically associated with wisdom.

“The link between ballet and wisdom is mysterious to us and something that we’re already investigating further,” said Patrick B. Williams, lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology. Williams plans to monitor practitioners of both meditation and ballet for months and years to study the results over a longer period of time.

Williams also said that he believed this study to be the first to look at the possible link between physical practices and the cultivation of wisdom. Howard Nusbaum, professor of psychology, is a lead investigator in a research project on somatic wisdom. Nusbaum believes that understanding wisdom will lead to greater insights.

“As we learn more about the kinds of experiences that are related to wisdom, we can gain insight into ways of studying the mechanisms that mediate wisdom. This also lets us shift from thinking about wisdom as something like a talent to thinking about it as something more like a skill,” he said.

Williams stressed that the research was not looking to establish a causal relationship between wisdom and the four practices. “We hope our exploratory research will encourage others to replicate our results and look for other experiences that are linked with wisdom, as well as the factors that might explain such links,” Williams said.

The benefits of meditation have slowly been recognized by Western medicine as more studies confirm what many cultures have known for thousands of years: Meditation is a powerful tool. In November 2015, a study found that adolescents who undergo a mindfulness meditation program may see improvements in memory. In April, Anti-Media reported on another study that confirmed the healing power of mindfulness meditation. The study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be just as effective as pharmaceuticals when it comes to preventing chronic depression relapse.

Meditation has also been used to help former soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In September 2014, TruthInMedia spoke with Heather Linebaugh about her experience with United States Air Force from 2009 until March 2012. Linebaugh worked in intelligence as an imagery analyst and geo-spatial analyst for the drone program in Iraq and Afghanistan. Linebaugh has suffered from PTSD and now works to promote natural treatments such as cannabis, yoga, and meditation.

The consistent practice of meditation can help one establish a balanced mind. By maintaining a balanced mind and learning to use meditation as a tool for peace and clarity we are helping promote a more compassionate world. If more people opted to begin meditating on a regular basis it is likely we would see an increase in wise, compassionate, and awakened minds.

This article was originally published on Activist Post.

About the author

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter.

If the ego had an engine, its fuel would be fear. Trepidation isn’t all bad, but it certainly has its time and place. Fear can render us quivering and useless, or motivate us toward change. In the study of Zen, we learn how to not only overcome our fears, but to become fearless. This is called the Lion’s Roar of Zazen.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

~ Buddha

The lion is the living embodiment of self-possessed power. This animal has dominion over all he sees as well as the courage, speed, and might to attain all he desires. His deportment is regal and calm, though, never bullying and neither shrinking. The metaphor of the lion is used to describe how one overcomes fear in the Majjhima Nikaya, a Collection of Middle Length Discourses on Buddha’s teachings, and they are immaculate at describing the fears most of us face. Many Zen teachers describe how to become regal and fearless in their discourses as well.

Fear of the Loss of Life

Zen master, D.T. Suzuki says that fear of the loss of body is usually what we must overcome first. Following this, an internal consciousness becomes aware that we are threatening the slated, well-accepted notion of being merely corporeal, and we ‘think’ we are frightened. Suzuki says we needn’t look any further than the bodily sensations that arise when we simply ponder fearfulness. An empty feeling in the lower abdomen ensues, there is an immobility at the base of the tongue, and our breathing becomes restricted. If we were to remove these sensations, though, fear becomes a meaningless thing.

Suzuki attests that according to Zazen, we aim to keep a lower abdomen full of power, the breathing always uniform, the heart beat tranquil, and the muscles of the whole body resilient so that if emotions like fear arise, they can easily be encountered and dismissed.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasures you seek.

~ Joseph Campbell

Fear of the Loss of ‘Self’

Some fear is understandable, even – such as when we realize we must face a spiritual death in order to progress on our path. Although we may long to richer higher levels of consciousness, we aren’t always so keen to let go of the habits and crutches that have propped up our current level of awareness. As the Sufi poet Rumi once said, “No one will find his way to the Court of Magnificence until he is annihilated.”

Other types of fear make us meek and fallible. Our consciousness easily wavers, and we cannot attain Mu, or a state of Zen, let alone get on with our daily activities.  It is only by cultivating the 4 Zen States of Mind that we can ‘fill our abdomens’ with power and roar like a lion with fearlessness.

4 Zen States of Mind

  1. Shoshin or “Beginner’s Mind” (初心) is the first stage in cultivating fearlessness. Think of a time when you were excited and eager to start a new endeavor. There might have been unknowns, but you were brimming with glee over trying something new. This is the type of mind we want to cultivate with all aspects of life. Instead of begin nervous or fearful, we can aim to be eager and open, accepting all that comes our way. In order to approach life from the beginner’s mind we need to let of preconceived notions, and be optimistic. If you’ve been able to have this feeling with one thing you’ve done in life, you can translate that feeling to other areas also.
  2. Fudoushin (不動心) means you have an “Immovable Mind.” It doesn’t mean you are stubborn, but fudoushin does translate to being determined in the face of obstacles. Does a lion run away from present danger? Hardly. The animal doesn’t get angry or judgmental about obstacles either. He is peaceful like the eye of the storm until he is upon his prey. If you can develop fudoushin when you are under stress, you will be unstoppable in life.
  3. Mushin (無心) or “Without Mind.” This is a similar philosophy to the Chinese Taoist idea of wei wuwei. When we are ‘in the zone’ working on a great masterpiece or doing something we love, we’ve likely already experienced the state of mushin. When we are empty of thoughts, yet moving and acting purely in the present moment, without fear, anger, ego, or other emotion, we are a force to be reckoned with. By developing equanimity and learning how to focus to the point of no-thought, we can cultivate mushin.
  4. The last of the four states of Zen Mind is called Zanshin (残心) which literally translates to “Remaining Mind.” This state of mind contains two precise elements. It means you are both relaxed and keenly aware of your surroundings. This is the state that martial artists aim to be in so that they can react at any moment to anything that comes their way. By maintaining relaxed alertness fear cannot sway you, even in the face of a frightening opponent.

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.

~ Salvador Dali

Fear of Suffering

The Buddha taught that self-grasping and ignorance are the root of all remaining fears. Healthy fears aside, our tendency to try to avoid suffering – the fear of failure, heartbreak, being trapped, being lost, etc. are all caused by a single root – and arise from the mind. In Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, it is said that the Buddha articulated, “The source of all our fear comes from our own uncontrolled minds or “delusions.””

In order to overcome this root cause of fear, the Buddha, and Zen masters alike, teach to strive for no-self or emptiness. This doesn’t mean a nihilistic view of life is adopted. Friedrich Nietzsche accused Buddhism of being existentialist, but the Buddha taught us to seek the Middle Way between the mundane and the spiritual, seeing objects as real but dependently originated, not-self and unsatisfactory. Instead of seeing all things as pointless and empty, we see mundane life as meaningless but recognize spiritual goals as meaningful.

As the Zen master, Sojo has said, “Heaven and earth and I are of the same root, the ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.”

After all, even once the Buddha gave up all his worldly possessions he realized he was no closer to achieving Nirvana. He discovered that exaggerated asceticism was not required to attain enlightenment.

By learning how to work through these fears, we can achieve the ‘lion’s roar’ of full realization.

This article was originally posted on The Mind Unleashed.

Photo credits: Conscious Reminder

There is a very intimate connection between cannabis and mysticism which dates back to the earliest times of human civilization.

History is filled with insurmountable evidence showing that cannabis was used a variety of spiritual and ritualistic practices. Cannabis enjoyed a respected status in various cultures as a gateway to experiencing the heights of spiritual transcendence.

The use of cannabis for spiritual elevation and worship permeates various aspects of history with cannabis being used as a means of gaining higher spiritual connections which create more electrifying mystical encounters.

Cannabis and Mysticism Across Various Civilizations

The use of cannabis for mysticism is prevalent in history and cut across various geographical locations, traditions, and civilizations with different heights of involvement and applications. There are many accounts of the use of cannabis as a channel to gain entry into the non-physical dimension. There have also been many indications and testimonies on that reinforce the relevance of cannabis in enabling the mind to gather awareness of mystical and nonphysical developments.

Additionally, there has been a widespread integration of cannabis in different types of sacred practices globally. What is referred to as “microdosing” in contemporary times often provides a fantastic way to prepare the mind for a brilliant spiritual encounter. Just a little amount of cannabis would stimulate the mind while enabling a greater awareness of spiritual realities.

Cannabis has an irrefutable reputation for facilitating entry into some of the most unreachable and far-flung areas of the subconscious. Cannabis enables the mind to reach lost memories, thoughts, and imaginations that effectively triggers a supernatural encounter. Without a doubt, cannabis is capable of strengthening the operations of the mind in ways that produce elevated mental processes and mystical encounters. Cannabis would enable profound cerebral operations, deeper and more gratifying introspections and soul searching while catapulting you to the threshold of ideological and divine enlightenment.

Marijuana plant has many constituents that provide spiritual elevation and insight. There have been many reports from users about increased spiritual awareness and amplified reasoning about dimensions that were once completely nonexistent to consciousness.

Cannabis as a Booster to Spirituality

Unarguably, cannabis provides the deepest form of clarity and ones with different dimension while enabling profound meditation that brings about tremendous revelations and awareness.

Cannabis strengthens consciousness and provides the body with the required amount of vigor for a worthwhile meditation. Cannabis offers great support for yoga practice and Yoga dates back thousands of years to the Shiva cults and was a highly beneficial ritualistic process. Cannabis provides the required vigor for the body while stimulating the mind for a profoundly gratifying assessment of self and various realities while creating a very fulfilling spiritual encounter.

Cannabis is particularly relevant in the area of introspection, facilitating an intense session of cerebral exploration that produces unmistakable clarity and insight that gives a deeper understanding of the spiritual.

Photo credits: Youtube

About the author:

Nick Hackman studied Sociology and is a journalist based in Brussels. He has a strong interest in Social Science and the Medical Cannabis Industry.

A team of Swedish researchers found that the presence of a receptor that regulates general serotonin activity in the brain correlates with people’s capacity for transcendence, the ability to apprehend phenomena that cannot be explained objectively. Scientists have for long suspected that serotonin influences spirituality. They found that drugs known to alter serotonin such as LSD also induce mystical experiences. If this neurotransmitter is released in huge quantities into the body, the individual will reach a higher state of consciousness. An immense feeling of joy and happiness takes over (4).

Have you ever come across the term LSD? Well, I’m sure you have. LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide is a powerful drug that can make or mar. While it can churn out millions for the peddler it can ruin the one who ingests it. So notorious is this one that the mere possession of it can see you to the gallows. Now what offence can LSD commit? Why are the ones introduced to it ready to throw away every penny they have just to buy it? Let’s find out.

In 1938 Albert Hoffman a Swiss Scientist, synthesized LSD while researching lysergic acid derivatives, from the ergot fungus that grows on rye. While re-synthesizing LSD he accidentally absorbed a small quantity of the same through his fingertips. He experienced something unfamiliar, something strong. It was the strong effects of LSD (1).

Related: The Perceptual Adaptation Experiment of George Stratton and Synaesthesia

Later on in the 1940s, LSD made its entry in the health market under the name Delysid. It was marketed to psychiatrists as a tool for understanding psychosis and for facilitating psychotherapy. A patient administered Delysid could capture repressed memories. The psychiatrist could get an insight into the patient’s mind via a primary process induced by the hallucinogen. The drug found widespread acceptance. Timothy Leary, a lecturer in Psychology at Harvard University in the 1950s, was a great advocate of LSD. But in 1965 it was banned in the US. Timothy Leary was tried for unlawful possession of marijuana cigarettes and put behind bars. He was sentenced to 30 years (1).

What actually happens when you ingest LSD?

When ingested LSD acts on specific receptors in the body and binds with them. A feeling akin to pleasure and ecstasy sweeps through the being. But what has LSD got to do with serotonin? Well, the specific receptors are none other than serotonin receptors themselves. 5HT type 2 receptors are the receptors where the entire serotonin binds. These receptors are there within all and the correct peptide that ought to bind there is serotonin itself. The power of serotonin peptide is so great that LSD is no match for it. But to experience it one needs to reach a point called unconditional love. Serotonin unlike other peptides has the power to hold sway over the human mind and body. Made up of tryptophan amino acid, serotonin peptide is a potent mood booster. It is a powerful antidepressant and anti- anxiety peptide. At the physical level it has amazing anti-aging properties. It eliminates the free radicals that accelerate the aging process. A low-level of the peptide can result in eating disorders and obesity (2,3).

Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter that was initially believed to be produced in just one location in the body i.e. the brain. However as research on the topic advanced, it was found that 95% of the total serotonin in the human body is produced in the gut, in the enterochromaffin cells. The rest of the serotonin is synthesized in the serotonergic neurons of the central nervous system. The brain cannot depend upon serotonin supply from outside sources i.e. the gut because it i.e. serotonin, is incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain from external invasions. Hence, the brain has to source its requirement of the neurotransmitter from within (3).

Serotonin contributes to the feeling of well-being and hence, is often referred to as the ‘happiness hormone’. The gut bacteria aid in the production of this neurotransmitter. It imparts a sense of love within the gut in an individual and is also actively involved in preventing depression and regulating sleep, appetite and body temperature. However its influence is not limited to the gut alone (3).

Studies have revealed that serotonin is a potent accelerator critical to maturation of the brain. It has a powerful influence on the brain neurons responsible for mood, sexual desire and functioning, appetite, memory, learning and social behavior. Deficiency of the peptide can lead to autism and Down syndrome (3)

When serotonin is produced in a balanced  amount an immense spiritual feeling takes over. Serotonin is the hormone and the neurotransmitter that makes one feel the spiritual bliss and wellbeing.

References:

(1) Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond- Martin A lee
(2) LSD: Doorway to the Numinous: The Groundbreaking Psychedelic Research into Realms of the Human Unconscious – Stanislav Grof MD
(3) 5-HTP: Nature’s Serotonin Solution – Ray Sahelian
(4) The Science of Emotions: Dr Fahad Basheer

About the author

Dr. Fahad Basheer is an author, writer  and a trainer. He is a highly influential independent researcher of consciousness, mind body continuum system and its applications in medicine.He has specialized in NLP psycho therapeutics. He is the author of the book “The Science of Emotions”. He has published numerous articles to different magazines and Medical Journals. Follow Dr.Fahad Basheer on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dr.fahadbasheer/ & Twitter.

This article was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to WakingTimes.com.