Quietening the Mind
Our own nature is Awareness / Consciousness / Presence Awareness which is not separate from anything else and there is nothing personal about that - no local entity called 'me' in there at all.
It is the very space, the stillness, in which Objects of Awareness occur.
Thoughts are Objects in Awareness.
If we are to lose sight of our actual nature and identify with those Objects in Awareness - so that we think that 'they are us' - then those objects appear to have some power.
But it is an illusion - they have no power of their own.
The only power thought has is when it's content is believed.
And so it returns to the perennial question - "what is our true nature?"
Losing sight of our true nature puts us in a position of believing any thoughts about ourselves which crops up. Any thoughts at all.
Thoughts about 'ourselves', thoughts about 'others'. Nice thoughts, and thoughts that are not very nice at all. Just watch the 6.30 News - a Horror Movie - for a sampler of human thought.
We can try and suppress, alter, train, ameliorate those thoughts. We can try and overcome, lessen or improve those thoughts by the use of force or determination.
However that entails maintaining and reinforcing an unspoken existing belief in the content of thought, and identifying with those thoughts, which we now want to 'reprogram' or 'retrain'.
It still means that we do not know who/what we are - and we try and find a solution in the mind by altering the existing thoughts - either in content or in frequency (slow thought down, become free of thought).
But the mind is dualistic, it cannot 'grasp' what 'no-thing' could possibly be - and so we once again have proof - if more is needed - that the answer is not in the mind.
It is possible that the content of thought, and the frequency of thought (mental noise) is not the problem?
Quietening the mind and becoming free from thought is the aim of many spiritual practices.
Is it possible that the end result of the 'spiritual quest' has now been recast into the 'path' itself ?
It becomes a Catch 22 - an impossible dream. To move along the 'path' you must first achieve the end result, but to be able to 'do' that you have to be at the end of the 'path' already.
Is it possible that by re-cognising your own true nature you cease identifying with thought - meaning - ceasing thinking that the content of Awareness is actually your true nature ?
Find out who/what you really are and what you are not - that is the answer.
See the True as True and the False as False. Not just believing (which are thoughts and by definition are dualistic) - actual SEEing (which is nondual).
Then thought slows down, freedom from thought occurs - but only as a by-product.
But thoughts still happen. They have never been 'yours' or 'mine' anyhow, and there is no believed 'me' in the the content. There is no substantive 'me' in actuality at all and never was.
That is freedom from thought.
To actually have 'freedom from thought' - means freedom from them, whether they are there or whether they are not.
There will be times when there are thoughts and times when there are not. It does not matter any more - there is no identification, or belief in them.
Freedom from thought does not mean not having any thoughts anymore - that is dualistic. That is only desired when one is already identified with thought - it is still in the dream.
The stillness, the space, the presence is still there, just as it always has been, thoughts or no thoughts.
End of game.
Written by Mike Graham, 19 Jan 2008, last edited 17 Feb 2008