For the average person we could say that the mind is in nearly perceptual motion. Samael Aun Weor says, “Unfortunately, the mind lives with an incessant chatter; it is not quiet for a single instant.” If we learn to understand the functionalism of the mind, we can begin to realise how we have let it come to dominate us. The chattery mind is noticeable during meditation, but perhaps without us even knowing it, it chatters along all day. Those of us who don’t fall asleep the minute our head hits the pillow often realise how endless our mind chatter is, sometimes serving to keep us up when we’d prefer to sleep.
A practice we can do in meditation is to label our thoughts. This exercise brings clearer attention to the way our mind operates.
Some of the major functions of the mind are to remember, analyse, compare and conceptualise. Due to our dualistic nature and the way we have been conditioned, we tend to polarise the function of the mind in several ways. These include:
- Past and Future
- Good and Bad
- Like and Dislike
For this practice, we start with serene observation of the mind. We observe that part of us is attentive to the practice, the “observer,” and part of us is thinking the thoughts, “the observed.” We notice each time a thought arises and choose not to follow it into a string of associated thoughts. If we do let the thoughts take us away, when we notice it we simply bring ourself back to realising we are observing the thoughts.
During serene observation, we can elect to label the thoughts. Perhaps we could start with simply labelling them as past, present or future. A thought about an argument we had earlier this afternoon, is in the past. A thought about how our foot is asleep due to the meditation posture, is in the present. A thought about what we will pick up at the grocery store later today, is in the future. We may find we spend more time in one of these areas than another. This is a clue to our conditioned thinking which forms the foundation of our personality and the driving force for much of our mind chatter.
I went on a trip one time and while staying friends I found a major emphasis in these people’s life was the past. Conversations were filled with reminiscing on old times. Photo albums filled the shelves. Baby pictures abounded on the walls. For these folks a huge value was placed on the past. In the next home I stayed in the conversation was imbued with future-focused topics. We spoke of the dates of upcoming workshops, long-term dreams of success in the future, new projects just on the horizon, and so on. I found the contrast between the general psychology of the people in these homes to be interesting and was lead to evaluate what tendencies I have in my own mind.
A personality that lives in the moment is one that appreciates the moment. It doesn’t mean that there is a lack of appreciation of the past or no plan for the future, it simply means that the consciousness is not preoccupied with or attached to the past or future in a way that makes one forget about the present. Order and aesthetics make the moment enjoyable. Listening to and appreciating those who are around us is being in the moment. Finding the fullness of life in each and every second is living in the moment.
Also in our meditation practice, we can label our thoughts as good or bad, and like or dislike. We get clues to the nature of our mind and what drives us to think the way we do by labelling in this way. You may be amazed at what you find out about yourself.
None of this is about judging ourselves. It’s all about observing and becoming aware.