Find Happiness 40: Your Mind is Like a Car out of Control, So What?

Rally CrashMany of us are concerned that we cannot exert control over our thoughts. In addition, we can be severely distressed at the consequences of this lack of control… it can seem like being in a speeding car without a steering capability.

There is a time-honored solution for this very common scenario: Step out of the car.

You have to realize that there are two entities involved in the thought process. There is the thought, and there is that which observes the thought. The "that" is the "basic you", your fundamental identity.

To save your self much grief and stress, and to experience deep, lasting inner peace, it is important that you understand this two-entity concept and always position yourself as the observer of your thoughts. This is equivalent to stepping out of the car mentioned earlier.

Once you have stepped out of the car, no matter where the car goes and no matter what happens to the car, nothing happens to "you", since you are effectively observing the car from the sidelines.

The reason I am saying that is because a long time ago, I was "in the car". After much study, contemplation and practice I got out of it and am now its calm observer.

It is never too late to start. One of the simplest ways to realize that you are in actuality the observer of your thoughts is as follows:

  • Sit comfortably in a place without any distractions
  • Wonder, soon after a thought strikes you, who was aware of the thought
  • Once you put your finger on that "who", try and stay there. (For this you will have to ignore your thought process to the extent that you are not pulled away from the “who" position. Most people are initially reluctant to do this for fear of the consequences, so I recommend trying it for gradually increasing periods of time.)
  • Every day put in a bit of this practice. The aim is to always be an observer of your thoughts. Most importantly, be an observer of ‘first person’ thoughts, such as, "Now’s the time for practice," or "I wonder if this is going to work," or "Why am I so distracted?" or " This is really cool."
  • As I said in this earlier post, if a thought suggests action, like, “I want to eat some pizza”, decide whether you want to obey it or not. If you decide not to obey, the thought will usually persist for a while. Just keep watching it until it dies down.

Once you are a constant observer of your thoughts, nothing can disturb you, since any disturbance is also part of the "car." Do it now and enjoy!!

To your peaceful life,

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Find Happiness 39: Does Inner Peace Mean Your Mind Should Be Blank?

no-thoughts Many people think that the state of inner peace implies stopping your thoughts. This is not only incorrect, but dangerous to believe and work towards.

Inner peace entails letting the mind think without restraint and watching it as it does so.

It is a state where thoughts certainly flow, but you are in a way “outside” them.

Imagine standing shoulder-deep in the surf. The waves powerfully push you and pull you as they advance and retreat. It takes considerable strength and concentration for you to keep standing.

This is an analogy for a person who is not in the state of inner peace. The waves are analogous to thoughts.

A person in the state of inner peace is like a person standing on the shore at the edge of the surf. The waves continue to advance and retreat, and the person sees them very clearly. The big difference is that it takes very little effort for the person to keep standing.

For the person to be in this comfortable state, there was no need to stop the waves! There was only a need to step out of them.

There is no need for you to stop your thoughts to experience inner peace; just step out of them and instead, constantly observe them. Please try doing that… it is really, really worth it!

To the realization of your inner peace,


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Find Happiness 38: The Oft-Neglected Goal of Yoga

the-goal-of-yogaYoga is without doubt a wonderful, invaluable and deeply beneficial discipline. It is taught all over the world, and the number of people practicing it is likely to run into the millions.

The goal of yoga is to lead one to Enlightenment; but what I am seeing is that this goal is often not given sufficient priority by those who teach it.

What the Literature Says about the Goal

That yoga is one of the paths to Enlightenment is described in the first part of the ultimate reference book on yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which is said to have been written in the second or third century CE.

The first part of the Sutra is called the Samadhi Pada, and the second sentence of this part succinctly describes the goal of yoga. It describes the goal with the word nirodah.

There are several translations (in my opinion, mis-translations) of this word; the translation that ties in perfectly with other ancient Indian philosophical texts that describe Enlightenment is, “realizing that you are the still and unmoving Consciousness that is aware of all your thoughts and sensory perceptions.”

What Frequently Happens in Yoga Schools

In my observation there are many yoga schools which do not have this goal in mind when they plan their curriculum. The emphasis is on perfecting the physical exercises of yoga, the asanas. Asanas no doubt do wonders for one’s flexibility, strength, posture, concentration and general health. But, as I have mentioned above, they are by no means all there is to yoga.

Integrating Yoga with Enlightenment

In my opinion, and based on my learning, the enhanced power of concentration that results from yoga should be harnessed for meditation aimed at attaining Enlightenment (which is also the state of inner peace).

One’s basic self, which I term the “basic you” in all my writings, is deeply peaceful and not dependent on external things or events. Constant identification with the “basic you” is the nature of Enlightenment (and the state of inner peace).

The “basic you” is the witness to all your thoughts and sense perceptions. To identify with it constantly, you should follow a two-step process: firstly, put your finger on the” basic you”; secondly, keep going back into it until you stop leaving it.

To put your finger on the “basic you”, some meditation is necessary: sit in a place where you will not be distracted, close your eyes, and watch what is going on in your mind. The moment a thought hits you, find the answer to the question, “To whom did did that thought to occur ?” That “whom” is the “basic you.”

Please be aware that when you identify with the “basic you”, you should allow your thoughts to come and go freely, neither pulling them in nor pushing them out, with you being nothing more than a motionless observer.

Once you learn how to do this, you should try to identify with the “basic you” even when your eyes are open and you are going about your daily routine. Over time this will make you reside in the “basic you” constantly.

The method I have described above requires keen use of your powers of alertness and concentration, and one of the ways to enhance these powers and therefore make your meditation more effective is to practice yoga.

Therefore if you are already into yoga, please use the mental benefits that accrue from it to meditate first with your eyes closed and then with your eyes open, thereby growing in inner peace and true Enlightenment.

If you are sincere in your effort to attain Enlightenment/inner peace, all doors will open for you… you will see it happen yourself!

To your success,

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