Control of our minds
I know I sound like a broken gramophone record but with so many dramatic changes going on in the world, it is important to be in control of our thinking. Otherwise we are not going to be able to cope with the events that occur during ‘The Shift of Ages’….a cosmic cyclic event that is happening right now. Without spiritual strength and understanding, many people will become confused and fearful as the ‘normality’ of life as we know it disintegrates around us. Self mastery is our mission, and here are a few exercises to help us gain control over our thinking as we enter a time of planetary upheaval.
Only 5 minutes
When I joined the Rosicrucian’s many moons ago, one of the first exercises I practiced was the art of visualisation and projection. I was told to pick an object, to hold it in my hand and examine it with my senses. My object was an apple. I breathed in the touch, the smell, the shape, the taste, the weight, the colour and the texture. I did this practice for seven days. For 5 minutes each day, I would take the apple in my hand and examine it. I began to notice its geometric perfection and small skin blemishes I had not observed before. An energy and a perfume and the slightly greasy touch on my fingers was a new experience for me. The next step of the exercise was to take the physical apple away, and then create a thought form apple complete with all of its sensory appeal.
The hardest part of the exercise was keeping my mind on the apple. It is quite a challenge to focus our awareness on an object for five minutes. Our mind wanders constantly because when we consciously think of an object…take the apple for instance, the brain automatically activates and associates with connecting ideas, like apple pie, or William Tell having an apple shot off his head….or the time you got scratched by an apple twig and had an allergic reaction. These associative thoughts then lead us off into a day dream, another stream of thought far away from the original apple. This associative thinking is hard wired into our brain. It happens automatically until we say ‘whoa’ and pull back the reins of our thinking. We believe that we think, but our thoughts have a will of their own and become scattered like water in a colander. But, if we can rein in our wandering mind, our thinking gets clearer, sharper, and as our focus and concentration grows our awareness expands.
Control of our will allows us to gain control over our actions
The second exercise is about taking an action at the same time every day for a month. This action need only take a couple of minutes like making a cup of herbal tea, combing your hair, or taking off your shoes and putting them on again. The important thing is that the action whatever it is has to be done at the same time everyday.
Now, perhaps you are thinking this sounds ridiculous, but the challenge is not the act itself but the timing because the mind clock watches. You can pick any time of day to do your action and you will notice that after a couple of days, you become the clock watcher. You’ll want to do your ‘action’ earlier….an hour before the fixed time, fifteen minutes before the fixed time. You will want to do it early and get it over with. Having a fixed time to do the action means we have to keep our focus and at the same time restrain ourselves until the time arrives. I can assure you it is easier said than done. The mind will tell us all kinds of things to make us do our action earlier, one being that the exercise is nonsense, and meaningless….and you have better things to do than wait around.
Try it and see for yourself.
Feelings – emotions
Emotions are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. Associated with our thoughts are feelings. Feelings are powerful. They dictate how we interact with other people. How we manage our day to day lives and how we deal with challenging situations. Instinctive reaction to stimuli of whatever kind is hard wired into our brains. Just like adrenaline rushes and the secretion of sex hormones.
We all share the same ‘feeling programme’: anxiety, jealousy, envy, resentment, anger, happy/sad, secure/insecure, abandoned/reclaimed etc. We are slaves to our emotions. Have you ever verbally blasted someone and later regretted it? Have you ever self sabotaged yourself by fearful feelings? We all have. Unless we gain control of our self, and our emotions we will be always be at the mercy of our feelings….good and bad.
How many times have you misunderstood an action by a colleague or friend? For example. You are talking to someone and he leaves the room and slams the door behind him. What is our immediate reaction. Did I say something to upset him? There’s doubt and a tingle of fear. Or you get shoved while you’re out shopping and get all pissed off about it.
Then an unexpected reassurance happens. The person comes back into the room all smiles and says sorry about slamming the door. I slipped and pulled it for support….and you find out that the person who shoved you while you were shopping was blind.
See how our emotions play tricks on us.
There is an analogy here. The person who shoved us was blind. Are we not blind in how we affect others? When the AI ‘I am’ is in event mode and ‘me now’ the motto…do we even care about other people’s feelings? And, many times when we are triggered by the brains association with past negative events, instead of going into neutral, we tend to lash out because we have lost control of our emotions. The more we become aware of self, and the closer we can come to our observations, the less our feelings will overwhelm us.
Asking self a question
When I experience an event that triggers a negative emotional state, I always ask myself the question. Who is feeling angry, slighted, ignored etc? Is it my ‘ego I’ that has its knickers in a twist, or is it my divine spirit that is connected to Source Creator and the One Life?
It’s always the ego that gets upset.
Rudolph Steiner and his exercise of ‘thinking backwards.’
Folklore suggests that 100 steps backward are as good as 1,000 steps forward. We live in duality where forward and backward are a given. if we really want to examine how we tick then we should cultivate the art of thinking backwards as well as forwards.
“Forming and dissolving of images at will is the basis of karma research.” Rudolph Steiner.
“You should not have any mystical ideas about meditation, nor should you think it is easy. Meditation must be completely clear, in the modern sense. Patience and inner soul energy are needed, and, above all, it depends on an act that no one else can do for you: it requires an inner resolve that you stick to. When you begin to meditate, you are performing the only completely free activity there is in human life.” Rudolf Steiner
In Rudolf Steiner’s work, the backwards review of the day in images is known in German as Rückschau, loosely translated as looking at movement. We could call the exercise the Backwards Review. The backwards review is a practical and potent alchemical force for entering into the spiritual world. This practice consists of reviewing the day backwards in pictures and observing the movement from one event in the day to another.
When we wake up in the morning, take a few minutes and let the mind go back in time…’into the night’ as it were. Perhaps you remember a dream. Go back one more step to the last thing you remember before falling asleep. Think back to supper. What did you eat and who was there. Then move backwards to lunch, then breakfast. Keep the mind clear of judgement or association. Just try to form clear memory images.
If the backwards review is done regularly, we become aware of the movement from the conscious to the unconscious when falling asleep, and from the unconscious to the conscious when waking up. And so, the time in-between takes on a different meaning. We start to understand that those two thresholds, which seem separated by our sleep, are actually a continuous stream.
Intuition versus sense bound thinking
Thinking backward is largely intuitive and suggestive. It allows us to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. It involves looking for patterns, making links between seemingly unconnected events. Thinking forward is different. It depends on intellect, and a mathematical formulation based on the five senses of physical reality.
By practicing the exercises we can participate in spiritual process as opposed to physical process. In observing ourselves from a point of neutral we will be able to harmonise our thinking and feeling. This will allow us to enter the magical, dreamlike consciousness of non local reality, a state of being that has become ‘lost’ through our attachment to material things and physical sensation. The re-emergence of spiritual reality will dispel the fear of death and bring an inner certainty of the imperishable nature of our spirit. In the words of the Bhagavad Gita:
“Never the spirit was born: the spirit will cease to be never. Never was a time it was not: end and beginning are dreams.
Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever. Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems.”
About the Author
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