The mind can be dangerous if not used in the proper way. I once read something by Eckhart Tolle that labeled the mind as a tool. It is precise and, when utilized properly, it can improve life. However, when you’re done using a tool, you set it down. After all, it serves a specific purpose and should not be used in all circumstances. You wouldn’t use a hammer to screw in a bolt. Nor would you use a saw to measure the length of an object.
Why is that we try to use the mind for tasks where it is useless? You cannot rationalize emotions and sometimes there are no answers. The simple question: “does he like me?” is not something the mind can fully process. You’re using a screwdriver to cut wire – it may work but it’s going to be messy. If you try to use that wire, it may be broken and imperfect. That’s what happens to the mind when you overuse it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful tool for solving problems. But it is not a master tool, or something that can solve all problems. In fact, it causes many problems. You can over analyze or think too much. No matter how much you try and use a hammer to screw that bolt in, it’s not going to work.
The biggest misconception about the mind that we try and live our life with it. The purpose of the mind is not to live, it is to analyze, store, and recall, data. By only using our mind, we process life instead of living it.
To solve this problem, you need to set the mind down when you don’t need it. All day you should be taking in your environment through your five senses. You should be tasting food while you eat it and hearing the breeze outside. The mind poisons these senses because it compares. It says, “this food tastes good, it reminds me of last week when we ate out. That place was really nice, we should go back. I wonder if anyone will want to go…”. That is not living, that is processing. You’ve forgotten the real taste of the food and you’re no longer focusing on it.
That is a great shame because there are so many beautiful things around you but you cannot see them with your mind. You have to stop thinking about what you see and just see them. Don’t even think about what they mean or what they are. Just take it all in. When you’re walking down the street, look at the grass but don’t think about it – just let it in. Don’t think “grass”, because you’ve already lost yourself. Instead, let it be.
Eventually you can notice your breath. But again, don’t think about it. Allow it to happen and continue without change. Simply observe it without the desire to take a deeper breath or lighter one. These “breaks”, where you set your mind down, don’t have to be long. They can last 30 seconds or 5 minutes, it does not matter. Just begin to focus on your experience of this moment.
With time, you will begin to naturally go back to this state. You’ll forget yourself and the other moments you could be experiencing. Instead you’ll feel alive. The tastes will be more tasteful and the colors more vibrant. Life will become more. Don’t abandon your mind, you’ll need to think at certain times, but set it down when you aren’t using it. If the purpose of life is to live, then this is how you do it: simply by living!
P.S. Eckhart Tolle is a fantastic writer with brilliant ideas. Definitely check out his book “The Power of Now”. It’ll blow your mind!