The Mind … Friend or Foe?

DescartesThe mind. Is it friend or foe?

Seems like a peculiar question to ask, but then it struck me as being odd when I awoke the other morning with a random song playing over and over in my mind. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I’ve noticed it every morning since … different songs playing endlessly.

Where do these songs come from and what is it that causes the mind to operate like an out of control freight train … going wherever it pleases, wreaking havoc in the process?

Strange indeed!

At any given moment there may be a song playing, a conversation going on, a thought about a past experience, an idea percolating, I may be thinking about what I want to do or I may be thinking about what I’m doing as I’m doing it (like right now)!

How is the mind able to do all this stuff … is it any wonder I am sometimes forgetful and absent-minded?

Now, the mind is indeed a peculiar thing, and while I don’t pretend to understand it (mine in particular), which I suppose makes this more of a muse than a message, I am deeply fascinated by it … and I am not alone! There are a lot of people spending a lot of time trying to figure out the inner workings of our mind. Songwriters write about it (If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lightfoot, comes to mind).

Despite our immense understanding however, there is still much science and medicine don’t know, particularly when the mind starts to run amok. What causes the brain, for instance, to develop neurotransmitter imbalances that lead to conditions like schizophrenia or Parkinson’s. Is it injury or diet or exposure to chemical toxins or unresolved emotional trauma or too much negative thinking? Or is it, perhaps, a combination of these factors?

Whatever the cause, Eckhart Tolle offers some great advice on how to get the mind under control, and I think this is one of the keys to being happy.  Eckhart says, “The future and the past are merely thoughts. We cannot live in either, We can only live in the present moment,” Any thoughts that take us out of the present moment are just mental commentary, born from unresolved emotional pain, faulty beliefs and conditioned thinking. They are not ‘real.’

Jesus also weighed in on the subject. He said, ‘The kingdom of heaven lies within,’ which is another way of saying the path to inner peace depends on our thinking or perhaps our ability to get out of thought and live in the now. It seems the entire perception of human ‘experience’ takes place in the mind, from happiness to suffering and everything in between. It is here where we learn to hate and where we learn to love. Where we learn to accept. Where we learn to have compassion. And where we learn to be kind.

Descartes said , ‘I think, therefore, I am,’ (not surprising that a philosopher would have something clever to say about the mind), however, I don’t think he had it quite right. Too often, our thoughts give us a false view of ourselves. They tell us we are superior … or perhaps inferior … to others, when the truth is, the true essence of us is neither.

So, live in the present moment. Think kind, loving thoughts (which have a lot more to do with the heart than the mind). And you will create your own kingdom of heaven … which I think is the whole point of our being here anyway.

And if that doesn’t work, just listen to Peace of Mind by Boston. Actually, that would be an awesome song to wake up to wouldn’t it!

Have an awesomely mind-free day!


4 comments on “The Mind … Friend or Foe?

  1. I like what Tolle says, (I haven’t read his books yet) but I do like his quotes. The good thing is, we can control our thoughts and not that many people realize that. Well the future is what we think, so thoughts really but the past is memories really, so also thougths in one way. And we cannot change either. With controlling our mind and thoughts we can make it positive and make a positive impact in our lives and surroundings. Lovely post!

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