When was the last time you just sat quietly, listening, observing without judgment, without any thoughts crowding your mind? Can you even remember a time you felt completely at peace — completely rooted in the present moment without any thoughts of the past or desires for the future coming to disturb you?
Only in these moments of quiet stillness is bliss possible. Have you observed – something incredible happens to you – you receive an anticipated job offer, a college acceptance – you become speechless. You are so filled with joy and excitement that words escape you completely. It is as if all thoughts disappear and you are left in a state of ecstatic blank.
Your mind, your thoughts create all your aggravations and anxieties. You have not trained your mind to be present; it is always mired in the past or projecting into the future. But in the present the mind has no use, the mind can only compare.
You are sitting on a beautiful beach. You hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore. You feel the warm breeze against your skin, breathe the misty ocean air filling your lungs. In this moment, what use is the mind? It can only disturb the simple sensations of pleasure you are experiencing.
But you cannot control your mind – so you start thinking about your upcoming examinations, your unpaid bills, your friends. The mind won’t leave you in peace; it is like a small child constantly tugging at your shirttails, begging for you to give it attention. It won’t leave you alone, it won’t let you enjoy what is right in front of you.
Only someone who tames their mind, quells it into submission can be truly alive, awake to the wonderment of life, fresh to the moment. It is in this space of no-mind that inner peace is found. It does not mean that you are brain-dead, a vegetable. It simply means that you have mastered your mind, you are no longer a subject to its whims, you are like an emperor. Fear is gone, upset is gone, anything which has been disturbing you suddenly evaporates.
You are not your mind. The mind is just a nimbus of thoughts, passing before you like clouds over a vast plane. But watch what happens when you observe these your thoughts. Create an impartial barrier between you and your thoughts. Just be a witness to them; don’t condemn or even try to stop them – that is just adding thoughts onto thoughts. Instead, just simple observation is necessary and you will see they become less and less, dissipating until the whole horizon is blank.
If you are not the mind – then what are you? Zen tells that you are the witness, that silent watcher within. This is what you have always been, what you always will be since the beginning of time.
Dropping the mind is the beginning of knowing yourself – your true self. All your life you have been identifying with your mind, with your ever-changing parade of thoughts. Drop them; drop them and you drop the veil hiding who you have always been.