We ask little children this: “who’s a big boy?” The reality is that we are all big, our energy is big, we are larger than our bodies – and much, much – much! – larger than our minds!
Eastern medicine follows the precept that energy follows attention. Can we apply that to our ordinary, everyday lives? I think we can!
Most of the time, our energy is scattered. When we follow the wanderings of our minds, that is completely true. Our minds wander from one thought to the next, one judgement to the next, one “brilliant” idea to the next. One day, for practice, intend to watch/observe the wanderings of your mind. You will have to do this when you are silent and when someone else is not speaking to you. Pay attention to your thoughts. This practice alone may surprise you – you will find yourself making judgements, mental comments, about everything you see. If you really pay attention, you will notice that it is easy for your mind to wander off, to not stay in one place, with one thought, one judgement. The mind is busy. The mind keeps moving along. That’s what it does.
It is also easy, if you are only interested in what you think, to not be completely whole. This idea in itself is counter-cultural. We are a culture consumed with words, our own words, the words of others, important words, more and more important words.
(You may want to return to my post: ‘don’t believe everything you think.’)…
But we are more than the wanderings of our minds. We are so much greater than the wanderings of our minds. We are energy, completely energy. We are made of the stuff of the universe, the stuff of stars, the stuff of time and space and earth and light. We are so much more than the wanderings of our minds.
Pay attention, today, to the movement of your body through time and space. Notice. Notice when your breathing deepens. Notice the moments when you hold your breath. Notice the feelings in your body. When you walk, do you feel as if you are walking solidly on the earth? Smell your surroundings. You are a sentient being, a being of feelings, of sense, of physical sensation. When you pay attention, you begin to experience yourself as a being of sensation.
Many years ago, I was privileged to be friends with a Zen Master, a man then in his 70’s, who was the teacher for a small group of pilgrims in a small city outside the bounds of the Bay Area in California. In conversations with my friend, I always learned something new, something that opened my world. One day as we sat together at lunch, we were talking about our minds (go figure how the conversation came to that!). He asked me a simple question: can you think outside of your mind?
I tried! For a moment, I went into that image and word-filled space that I inhabited. Could I think outside of my mind (whatever “my mind” is!)? I came back to the present moment shortly: “well, I tried,” I said to him. Our minds, no matter how brilliant we are, how well educated we are, how well trained we are, are limited. Are our minds limited by the constraints of our thinking? I’m not sure – are you? Do our minds expand? I’m not sure – are you? Is there always room for more in our minds? I’m not sure -are you?
All I know now, is that we are so much more than our minds. We are limitless, sentient, boundless, energetic beings. Some say we are beings of light. However you say it, however you choose to frame it, you are so much more than your thinking thinks you are.
Just how big are you?