Beauty it is everywhere but sometimes we cannot feel its presence, we cannot see its grace, we cannot hear its exquisiteness, we cannot taste its delicacy because we are thinking of so many other things, our minds are everywhere but in this moment.
Thoughts … it is not possible to stop them, it is not possible to control them, it is not possible to hide them; they are always there and our delusional control over them will never be permanent. So how then do we manage with our painstakingly busy minds? How do we find peace within this ever torrent of thoughts that keep us imprisoned?
In a conversation with an angel Anand Krishna explains in his book Soul Quest that we must “go over them and leave them behind, separate yourself from your thoughts”. In other words, transcend them.
Separating yourself from your thoughts is easier said than done, believe me I struggle everyday with this busy mind trying to pull me in this direction and that direction. How do I separate from my thoughts? As I once read in the Untethered Soul, “we are to watch our thoughts as though we are the witness, as if we are standing back and watching them as if we were watching a movie play out in front of us”, watch our thoughts as clouds floating by in the sky, see our thoughts floating down a free flowing river and disappearing around the bend. So, the first step then is to separate ourselves from our thoughts, we are not our thoughts. Yet we can become our thoughts just by thinking them, getting caught up in them and finally believing them; it can be such a prison. Chains and shackles unlike any other addiction, thoughts can control us, they can imprison us.
I am reading a book by Osho, The Chakra Book, Energy and Healing Power of the Subtle Body and his take on breath and thought and another confirmation of the power of our breath. Our mind can only focus on one thing at a time.
Osho says … As far as the mental body is concerned, thought coming in and thought going out is the same kind of phenomenon as breath coming in and breath going out. Every moment a thought comes in your mind a thought goes out. Thought itself is energy. In the mental body, the energy manifests as the coming of thought and the going of thought; in the physical body, it manifest as breath coming and breath going. This is why you can change your thinking with breathing. There is a correspondence. Thought pulling in and thought pulling out has parallels, when thought comes to you while you breathe in, only in those moments is original thinking born. When you breath out, those are moments of impotency; no original thought can be born in those moments. In moments when some original thought is there, the breathing will eventually stop. When an original thought is born, then the breath stops. It is only a corresponding phenomenon. In the outgoing thought, nothing is born. It is simply dead. But if you become aware of your thoughts coming in and thoughts going out, you can tap into the fifth body.“
Therefore breath is a paramount part of our coming back to the present moment and allowing thought to stop while we focus on the breath.
What comes after the thought is the feeling, the emotions even without engaging we still feel the feeling. The feelings often attached to another experience that seems similar to this one, some familiarity, our bodies react as though we are right back in that same situation, that same experience and we are suddenly flooded with anger, resentment, jelousy, As with the thoughts, we feel the feelings and instead of engaging with the feelings we sit with them allowing them in and watching them, just like the waves of the Ocean. Rise and fall, flood in and flood out.
Sounds easy right? If it were that easy we would all be enlightened beings floating around, it takes practice and a constant reminder to come back to the present moment. Pause. Observe. So we don’t engage in the thought, we watch it go by but then we are hit with the feeling, the emotion attached to the thought and we automatically want to chase it, we want to engage in it but instead we sit with it, allow it in, and allow it out. Sometimes momentarily the feelings subside and sometimes it takes a little longer and we invite them in to stay as long as they need too.
Again, I will refer to one of my favorite poems and reminders when a feeling has attached itself to me from a thought that is ruminating around in my monkey mind and won’t leave me alone; sometimes taking days to process the thoughts leading to the feelings that are pulling me down.