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Saturday, February 8, 2014

How to listen to your thoughts to become fully involved in the present

"When you listen to a thought, you are not only aware of the thought but also of yourself as the witness. A new dimension of consciousness has come in. As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence - your deeper self - behind or underneath the thought as it were." - Eckhart Tolle (The Power of NOW)

You don't change overnight. It never happens that way. A series of events build up towards creating an opportunity for change. And yes, that's how it all started with me at the beginning of this year. 

Like a bolt from the blue, I started to crave for silence. I began to focus on NOW instead of the past or the future. Here's how it began.

Action Plan: Freeze a time slot to meditate

YES it worked! Here's how silence helped me to understand myself better.

The more I began to practice silence, the more peaceful I began to feel. Through silence and meditation, I began to love myself more, be less critical of my actions and become more involved in the present. 

There were moments when I asked myself - Ami going crazy with meditation? That is when I wrote this post on Meditation: Signs of Progress and How to identify a Real Vision from a False One. I also wrote on Raja Yoga and the Four Paths to Divinity in Hinduism.

Leveraging the Power of Now

Some weeks later, I read Vishnu's blogpost on The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It was an excellent read and I ordered the book. As I read it, I understood I am on the right track. Whatever is happening within me NOW is happening for my well-being and spiritual growth. 

Reality bites. Because my mind and thoughts are resisting the changes happening NOW in a big way. At one level, I am resisting change. At another level, I am flowing into the present in a powerful way. 

So, in this wrestling match between the mind, thoughts and myself - who gets the trophy? Who packs in the bloody punch and wins it all?

Gory mess, isn't it? Not at all. The fight is never ending. But for the first time, my role has been changing only because I have been practicing meditation consciously.

From Noisy Chatter to Silent Watcher
These are the changes I have experienced:

1. I have become a 'silent watcher of my thoughts.'

2. I am intensely conscious of the present moment and involve myself fully in it.

3. As I bask in silence, I can experience a powerful presence around me. 

4.  When thoughts subside and recede like ripples, I have experienced a fleeting interval whereby there are no thoughts at all - just a beautiful state of bliss - where I, the mind and body, has ceased to exist. That is a most amazing, revealing experience. In those fleeting moments, I experience my divinity in a most powerful way. The funny thing is this - I don't want that state to end. But it does. 

Gems of Wisdom from Eckhart  Tolle's book 'The Power of NOW'
Eckhart  Tolle captures the essence of thoughts in a beautiful way:

  • When a thought subsides, you experience a discontinuity in the mental stream - a gap of no-mind. At first, the gaps will be short [I am in this phase], a few seconds perhaps but gradually they will become longer [GREAT! Am heading there soon!]
  • When these gaps occur, you feel a certain stillness and peace inside you. This is the beginning of your natural state of felt oneness with the Being which is usually obscured by the mind.
  • It is not a trance-like state. [This doubt had been troubling me. In those blissful intervals of thoughts ceasing to exist, I had wondered if I was in a trance.]
  • You are fully present. Be totally present.
  • Become aware of a silent but powerful sense of presence. [This I have experienced strongly during meditation.]

Enough about me. It's your turn. Tell me your thoughts on meditation or any technique that you follow to still the noisy chatter of thoughts? Are there any interesting teachings that inspire you? Have you tried something new in the spiritual realm to connect to your Higher sense of awareness and energy field? 

It could be something small, a baby step, but as long as you are doing it with sincerity, the winds of change will blow. Your life is set to change. I'd love to know how you are all set for this big change in your life too. Won't you share your story with me?

I am waiting.

10 comments:

B Pradeep Nair said...

Indeed, introspection is both enlightening and therapeutic. Because, the ultimate well-being is when you are in-sync with yourself or in simpler terms, when you are comfortable with yourself. That should be the goal. Everything else are only tools to reach this goal. We should never mistake the means for the end.

Positive Reinforcement is a method I practise to get a better sense of the world around me. The more we understand, the more peaceful we are.

Good articles in your blog. :-)

Mélange said...

Swapna,loved reading you as usual.I don't have words to express how I feel here.I don't know this,but I am going through my kind of 'journey' in the same.Whatever,I am so delighted to meet you.God bless !

harimohan said...

way to go Swapna
somehow my monkeys mind can never go still happy to hear yours does
longer route of evolution for me !
good read

Vishnu said...

so glad to read this post and seeing all of your mindfulness development this year, Swapna. Here was the breakthrough for me with Tolle - his suggestion to stop thinking. And a reminder that the way to stop thoughts is to stop thinking. It's easier done than said. We don't have to engage with all the talk through our heads. And we don't have to pay attention to the past and future. It's all an illusion. If it's not happening right now - it doesn't exist so he just encourages us to live in the right now.

I guess the last realization for me that helped me break the past was a realization that the past was feeding my ego. The past was giving me an identity. And the stronger I associated with the past, the stronger my identity became. I decided to let go of the past and needless to say, my life is completely different now. the past doesn't exist anymore but I was continuing to imagine that it did.

Once Tolle changes our perspective on life and being present, it's hard to go back to the mind chatter and negativity.

Thank you for sharing your journey again!

B Pradeep Nair said...

I doubt if we can stop thinking altogether. What must be done, is to think the right things. And, what is right and what is wrong, is largely a personal choice of an individual. I can't follow the route one person took to his happiness and fulfillment. I must find mine.

Indeed, we must stop allowing ourselves to be haunted by the past. But the past, too is a teacher. We learn a lot from the past. We can't afford to completely snap links with the past. We should only stop being a slave of the past.

Yes, we must shun negativity. We must consciously look at the brighter and positive sides of everything around us. When troubles strike us, tell ourselves that these are small problems for the larger happiness of our future.

jk said...

NGDCs .. Interesting Comments above by Pradeep Nair ..

Ajith said...

interesting read..thanks for this Gem....i had one of my friend talking bt this book and saw the info in ur blog as well...Will try to practise it..

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@B Pradeep Nair: Thanks for sharing your thoughts here and reading the post. I agree with you on several important points you have stated such as we must shun negativity and that one person's path need to be something that I should follow, I should find my own Path. Bravo!

That is exactly the passion and conviction with which we need to tackle the present and the future, for our growth and peace of mind.

Another point you mentioned - We must stop allowing ourselves to be haunted by the past.

Agree with this 100% but I am not sure about the past being a teacher unless our perception and contemplation of past is that clear. Usually, the past replays itself in our minds in a highly reactive way and not necessarily as that of an Eternal Witness.

Our approach to seeing and experiencing the Past is so rooted in our ego that it becomes Mission Impossible to see it with the clarity and serenity it deserves.

For spiritual masters, this doesn't apply because they have transcended the ego and are deeply involved with each and every moment. That is all about Being present. In Hinduism, we refer to their state of mind as Sath-Chith-Ananda. We, as spiritual aspirants, are striving for it but it's a long way to go.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@Melange - Thanks so much! It's great to know that you are undertaking a similar journey too. Would love to have more insights on how you are fully involved in it, how you are able to tackle the initial difficulties and so on. Do write about it. Stay blessed.

@Harimohan - Thanks Hari uncle. I am sure you are far far ahead of me in this spiritual journey but you are too kind hearted and humble to say so. Would love to read more spiritual thoughts on your blog, given your varied trips that include very energizing spiritual journeys.

@Ajith - We can share stories and experiences but ultimately we all have to find our paths in our own unique ways. It brings forth a whole set of challenges including how to understand ourselves first but it's worth the effort. The bliss, the fulfillment and the joy that you experience is worth it. Like some ads say, "Because you are worth it." All the best in your spiritual path. So glad to be connected with a sincere spiritual aspirant like you. May AMMA's blessings and grace be forever with you.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Dear Vishnu, I can't thank you enough for the remarkable book review you wrote about Tolle's Power of Now - which steered me into a positive energy zone at a very critical time in my life.

Just as you said, Vishnu, dwelling on the past isn't really helping the Present or the Future because as you said, the Past is now an illusion.

Yet we replay it a hundred times and let it define our choices, relationships and so on. The past lets our ego takes control of us. We lose ourselves and the plot altogether. Result? We make a mess of our lives!

Tolle's book really changes our perspective on the past and the importance of being fully present without being judgmental about life or resisting what life brings our way.

Grateful and happy that I had the blessed opportunity to read and connect with your blogpost on Tolle's book. This took me to an altogether different realm of contemplation and meditation.

Thank you, Vishnu. Keep writing.

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