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Mastering Your Mind Is Not A Mystery - Part 5

Written by: Phillip Golding, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Throughout the ages, as human beings, we have suffered predominately at the hands of our own confusion, due to being in conflict with ourselves, with each other, or with nature. In various cultures throughout that time, however, there have also been those who have unlocked those chains of suffering by gaining mastery over their own minds. This has been the stuff of religion, myths, legends and philosophy. Schools of wisdom, such as in ancient Egypt, the Hindu Vedas, Buddhism, the great Greek philosophers, Gnostism, the Jewish Kabbalah, or Sufism, just to name a few, have all claimed to have found the answer. We know the paths because they have all recorded their teachings and are all still being practised. On the surface, they may all look different and complicated and simply approaching them from an academic standpoint may just reinforce this perception.

This all changes however, when you use these various teachings as a guide to take charge of your own mind for the purpose of overcoming suffering. When used in this way, all the complexities and the cosmologies give way to one basic question; “Does this help me to overcome my suffering in the here and now?” Here, you enter into the path of what has been called mysticism, where you are trying to literally become the principles that scholars merely speculate and argue about. Mysticism is derived from the word ‘mystery’. In this day and age of freely available information, let’s move beyond the perception of it being a mystery and give it a modern term by calling it ‘the path of self-awareness’.


The Modern Search for Wisdom


Since the mid-1800s, many scholarly seekers of wisdom, from all walks of life, have been collating and studying these various wisdom traditions while also, more importantly, trying to genuinely live this wisdom. The relatively recent 12-Step Program of Alcoholic Anonymous can also be included among these schools of wisdom. A.A., with its formula for self-awareness, has helped countless people from all over the world overcome suffering enough to become exemplary members of society. Modern psychology, although weighed down by the limits of academia, has been doing its part as well to solve the mysteries of human suffering. There are also more experiential schools of psychology, such as existentialism, which is not given much focus at universities because you can’t understand it only on an academic level. Existentialism, like mysticism, must be lived to be truly understood. The problem with academic psychology is that you can do all your studies to the point of being qualified as a psychologist without actually applying what you have learnt to your own life. The field of transpersonal psychology, where I locate myself, goes further to encapsulate the ancient wisdoms as well as modern psychology and has an emphasis on the experiential path.


We Have the Answer


Like so many others before me, suffering, in the form of chronic depression and PTSD, was my initial driving force to master my mind. Therefore, how to overcome my own suffering was my first burning question. As I began to heal and grow, first through the 12 Step Program and then through my own studies and practice of the ancient wisdoms, a desire to also help others began to awaken. So my next question was; “How can we solve the problems of humanity, such as conflict, greed, exploitation and the disregard for the suffering of others?” I came to understand that the answer to both questions is the same.


I am therefore implying that I have found that answer. You may think that I am just being pretentious here. In reply I could say that so many others down the ages and also in our present day have found the answer as well, but that may not impress you either, because after all, how do you really know. I need to find a useful way of explaining it, which may inspire some intuitive spark within you that prompts you to live these principles, this process, in your own life. But then that still may not be enough, because it is normal to at first use the Self-Awareness process as a quick fix to try to escape from your mind out of fear of the mind.


This approach will likely just give yourself a shallow experience, only to have your mind pull you back into suffering, resulting in you losing faith in the knowledge and giving up. To truly place yourself in the position of actually experiencing the power of this knowledge, you have to commit to living it ongoing. This points to why the answer to suffering remains a mystery to most of us. So many have held the Holy Grail in their hands, only to put it down again.


Crossing this bridge of faith and persistence to the land of personal experience is not unlike running an empirically valid science experiment that other scientists then test out by meticulously and methodically following the recorded information and coming up with the same results, therefore giving validation to the hypothesis of that experiment. Therefore, if you don’t sufficiently follow the formula, you are simply not going to get the same results.


In this experiment however, you are not just the scientist, you are also the experiment and the experimental subject, which can add to the degree of difficulty, considering that your own ego is a major variable. I would suggest that this experiment has been validated by countless practitioners all through the ages on the strength of knowledge past down and then genuinely put into practice right up to now. This then further implies that there are common elements, principles, or a physics to overcoming suffering. So let’s have a look at what this physics is.

The Physics of Consciousness


If you have read my previous articles, you would already be familiar with the foundational principles or laws that awaken our slumbering consciousness into what we call ‘Awareness’, which are ‘Acceptance’ and ‘Personal Responsibility’. Why Acceptance? To answer that question, let’s start with the second law ‒ Personal Responsibility. The term ‘Self- Awareness’ implies that you are focusing on your own mind as the source of your own suffering. Personal Responsibility comes from the awareness that if you are blaming the world around you for your suffering, you will never have control of your own suffering and therefore your life. Trying to make the world behave itself so you don’t suffer has proven to be a futile exercise. Of course, you need to manage yourself in the world and set appropriate boundaries when needed, but you need to do this from the perspective of caring for yourself, rather than judging others for being human, because if you do that, you must also judge yourself for being human.


In reality, we are all too often trying to control the world through the lens of our own suffering. This means that we are seeing the world from the standpoint of still being a child, who is still powerless over his or her own mind and environment, because children do not yet have a strong enough grasp of their potential of Awareness. Children are genuinely a victim of their environment, due to the vulnerability of their age and lack of control over their lives. As parents, as adults, we are supposed to represent Awareness for our children, training them to be Aware by the time they are reaching adulthood. This implies that adults have the capacity or potential of Awareness. Our whole system of law is based on this premise.


Needless to say, as parents, we all too often lack Awareness, particularly when it comes to knowing how to give and be Unconditional Love, resulting in confusion being handed on from generation to generation.

The Power is in YOU


If our suffering is caused by the confusion that has accumulated in our own minds, then we are trying to control the world from the standpoint of that confusion, of thinking that we are a victim. We just need to look at all the conflicts in the world to see the consequences of that approach. It is fair to say then that this human mind and body is like a car that we are driving on the road of life. It is futile blaming the other drivers for how you drive your own car, even if they are bad drivers. It is still up to you to manage the changing conditions that you encounter on the road. “What if someone crashes into me through no fault of my own?” you may say. Let’s use getting mugged while walking through a park, as an example. You get beat up quite bad and spend some time in the hospital. In time your body heals, but you are still afraid to walk in the park. You can keep blaming the mugger for that, but the mugger is long gone. Your suffering is no longer caused by the mugger, it is caused by what your mind is now doing with that experience. The mugger can’t solve that for you. Only you can. If you choose to remain a victim, then you are giving that mugger the power that you need to heal your own mind. Your mind is totally within your conscious, which places it completely within your control. You may not know how to heal your mind yet, because consciousness is a potential that you must learn how to use in order to transform that potential into Awareness, but it’s up to you to have faith that you have that potential and get on with learning how.


Therefore, the degree that you blame other people and the world in general for your suffering, is the degree that you will remain powerless over your suffering.


Accepting responsibility for your mind places you in the position of being the parent of your mind. You may be a learner parent, or an apprentice master, but you have to start somewhere. This means that you, as the awakening parent, have a child, which is your mind. Just because you were brought up in a certain way, that does not mean it ends there. Your mind, with its memories and conditioning belongs to you now. It is always there within your consciousness.

It is a captive audience. Even though your mind is designed to indiscriminately hang onto its habits, good or bad, your mind can be healed and reconditioned, but you have to know how. To make a real positive difference to your mind, you need to be a better parent to your mind ‒ one who is willing to learn how to love your mind, you human-self, unconditionally. That is the basis of Acceptance as a law of physics that enables you to empower your self-awareness. Accepting yourself as you are is an act of responsible self-love. You are opening the door to engaging in a loving and compassionate relationship with your wounded and confused human mind. Acceptance is the basis or any relationship. Your mind became wounded and confused because you did not receive/experience a sufficient amount of unconditional love while you were growing up. Now you are learning to be the source of that love to yourself.


You are the Love that You are Searching For


When you accept yourself as you are, you have set a commitment to not judge yourself when you get triggered and act irrationally. In addition, as a good parent, you are also committed to taking full responsibility for your irrational reactions. You are learning not to judge them, but instead stay present with them in order to get to know them and understand them. This is indeed opening up the Pandora’s Box of your mind, but unconditional acceptance makes this possible. We avoid ourselves and project onto others because we struggle to face our own lack of self-worth and self-judging. Now you are accepting that you couldn’t avoid being human and you are seeing your mistakes now as an opportunity to learn about your mind and how it became confused. So now you are doing something that very few people do. You are regarding your emotional reactions as your ‘inner-child’ calling out to you for help. “I am scared and stuck in my confusion and hurting and I need help,” is what your inner-child is saying underneath the acting out. Now you are learning to stay with your mind, to not run from the vulnerable feelings, but instead seeing the fearful emotions as doorways into your wounded and confused mind and your human story. Isn’t that what you wanted from your parents ‒ for them to compassionately be with you, hear you, feel you in order to understand you so they could appropriately guide you. You may not be able to stop the reaction in the moment, but you can go back to it at any time, face it, feel it and learn something from it.


With this ongoing, life-long commitment to yourself, you will become increasingly conscious of the confused and habitual thought-structures that are driving your painful emotional reactions, that are being triggered, but not caused, by the world around you. You will also experience how powerful and overwhelming your painful emotional reactions can be. You will experience how your own fight-or-flight primal self, who is just still trying to protect you like you are still that child, will try to shut you out, like it does to the world around you.


However, your unending commitment to yourself will mean that you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn some more from that experience and have another go with a new level of Awareness. With your unending commitment, you will see how powerful and unlimited your Awareness is, as your consciousness is able to venture deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of your mind and guide your inner-child into a new world of kindness and caring that you are creating for yourself. You will observe how your new, more conscious responses to the circumstances around you changes the way the world responds back to you, and in the process you will discover that you can change your world by first changing yourself. You will discover that you are in charge of your own reality, that you are aligning to the physics of consciousness, regardless of the circumstances and conditions that you encounter in life. You will discover that you are in charge of your own peace, wellbeing and happiness.

Life has Your Back


As you gain more self-awareness, you gain more power to heal and recondition yourself. Instead of your mind being in a state of conflict, you are now conditioning your mind to match your potential and serve you as Awareness. You will be becoming increasingly at peace with yourself, at one with yourself. As your inner-peace grows, seemingly mysterious things start to occur. The more connected you feel with yourself, the more connected you feel with others and with life itself. You start to feel this and experience this connection with life in the form of synchronisities, where life seems to be coordinating itself with you ‒ you meat the right person who has the right information at the right time, for example, and this becomes more of a norm. You start to feel, experience and know that everything exists within the one consciousness, but this is no longer a mystery either. Maybe I’ll explain that one in my next article.


The Formula


So here is the formula. If you follow it, you will overcome your suffering.


1. Wholeheartedly commit your life to learning how to be the two essential laws of consciousness ‒ Unconditional Love (starting with acceptance) and Total Personal Responsibility (ie: for everything you think, therefore feel, therefore say, therefore act). These two principles are your master teacher. They represent the foundation of your ultimate potential.

2. Identify yourself as consciousness learning to be Aware of your human-self (Conscious-Awareness). Ego is consciousness that is unaware and serving your mind’s blind, habitual conditioning and primal instincts (fear), which is why the poor old ego gets a bad name. Ego is set free (at first it often feels like dying ‒ dark night of the soul) from your mind and transformed into Awareness by you doing your best to live the two essential laws of consciousness stated in step 1 (which makes the process less like ego dying and more of a meaningful awakening). This enables you to start observing your mind and engaging with your mind instead of just being your mind.

3. Make this new approach to your life your way of life for the rest of your life. Your mind is deep, multi-layered and complex and has a powerful instinctual, but limited, drive to survive. The mind, in its own dimension does not know your potential as an Aware Consciousness, even though the love and wisdom that is within your potential is what it has always been searching for in the world, but not finding it. Never take your mind for granted. It only knows its habits and primal instincts. It is up to you to keep guiding your mind into yourself endlessly. Awareness in unlimited. Despite the natural power of the mind, it has to give way to Awareness, but it will only do so if Awareness is there offering it a new reality ongoing.

4. Keep being open to learn. It is your responsibility to educate yourself in how to be your forever Aware parent and master. In this age of easily available information, all you need is within your grasp. Let the two essential laws of consciousness guide you to what is useful to learn. Also, regard every person you meet and every experience you encounter as a mirror reflecting yourself to yourself. Look intently into that mirror so that you can see into the depths of your mind with your loving and compassionate heart/Awareness.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Phillip Golding, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Phil has been on his own personal development journey since 1984. He overcame chronic depression and PTSD, which motivated him to continue to learn about emotional healing, psychology, and self-awareness. Phil’s qualifications and experience cover general psychology, existential/spiritual/transpersonal psychology and mindfulness and a post-graduate degree in psychology. With his personal and professional experience, Phil developed the powerful and effective mindfulness-based “Five Step Process,” which has been the foundation of his psychotherapy practice and mindfulness/self-awareness teaching. Phil is also an author and is in the process of completing the second edition of his book, “Five Steps to Freedom.”

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