By Christine Carey
Some people think that the mind is the brain, but it is not. The brain is a physical object. The mind, on the other hand, is a formless component of our life that enables us to be aware of the world and our experiences, to think and to feel.
States of mind
States of mind that disturb our inner peace are called ‘delusions’. These are thoughts and emotional states that cause anger, jealousy and desirous attachment. Delusions are the principal causes of all our suffering. They cause stress. We may think that our suffering is caused by other people, by poor material conditions, or by society, but in reality it all comes from our own deluded states of mind.
The essence of spiritual practice is to reduce and eventually remove our delusions, and to replace them with permanent inner peace. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso writes in the book “Transform Your Life”: “The essential point of understanding the mind is that liberation from suffering cannot be found outside the mind. Permanent liberation can be found only by purifying the mind.”
A pure mind is a peaceful mind, free from hatred, anger, jealousy, confusion and conflict.
Why we must
Stress is a necessary and important element of daily life. But when stress continues throughout the day or longer, it becomes chronic stress. There are no benefits to chronic stress.
• suppresses the immune system
• causes rapid aging
• makes the body retain excess fat
• dulls thinking
• increases pain
• is the root cause for more than 80 per cent of illnesses today
• generally reduces quality of life
In many instances, the stress we experience on a daily basis begins with negative self-talk or disturbing states of mind. According to Eastern spirituality, the mind is always attempting to seek pleasure and avoid pain. The mind is never at rest because this attraction and avoidance causes a continuing string of thoughts. For some people, most of the thoughts are not satisfying
and this lack of satisfaction causes fear and stress.
If we want to become free from problems and attain lasting peace and happiness we must increase our knowledge of the mind and learn to create mind silence. A quiet and calm mind is developed only through practice.
The practice – one
to two minutes,
three times a day
To begin: Sit quietly. Feel the weight of your body in the chair, your feet on the floor. Notice the feel of the air on your skin. Feel yourself breathe. Be receptive to the sounds around you and sights in front of you.
Then: Listen to all the sounds around you. Do not move your attention from one sound to the next. Rather, listen to everything together as one sound. Hold all sounds equally in your attention at the same time and do not let your attention jump from sound to sound.
For a few more seconds: Relax the muscles of your eyes so that your vision falls in front of you and slightly downward. Without moving your eyes, notice your whole field of vision from side to side and top to bottom. Your eyes are relaxed and motionless. Place your attention on your entire field of vision without fixating on any single object.
Finally: Be still. Relax your shoulders and just sit and breathe.
As you become calmer, the mind slows. In this receptive state, unneeded tension is released. Muscles soften and let go. Within a few days, this stress relief practice will become easier to enter and sustain. As stress is relieved, you will become healthier and happier.
• All health content in this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.
Christine Carey is a certified holistic health and life coach (www.christine-carey.com), partner at Liquid Nutrition (www.liquidnutrition.com) and director of Corporate Wellness at 242 Consulting (www.242consulting.com). With over ten years of coaching experience, Christine works with individuals and groups to assess and define their diet and lifestyle goals. She focuses on increasing knowledge, implementing new habits and creating personalised tools for success.