Modern day life can be tough. There are exams to ace, bills to pay, diapers to change, and annoying co-workers to contend with. And unfortunately, we all too rarely carve out pieces of our day in which to defuse our stress and settle our minds.
Yet, we all need our quiet and peace in our minds. We all need to live the moment and enjoy the miracles of existence while we’re here. However, most of the advice we’re given to relax our minds is to go on vacation, or to meditate.
While meditation can certainly help, there’s more to it than simply focusing on your breath. In fact, one of the most powerful benefits of meditation is that it allows you to create a gap between the observer and the mind.
According to Osho, experiencing freedom from your thoughts is the second stage of spiritual enlightenment. To achieve this, we need take a step back from our mind and become an observer. Osho explains exactly how to go about it below.
How to liberate yourself from your conditioned thought patterns
“Become an observer of the currents of thought that flow through your consciousness. Just like someone sitting by the side of a river watching the river flow by, sit by the side of your mind and watch. Or just as someone sits in the forest and watches a line of birds flying by, just sit and watch. Or the way someone watches the rainy sky and the moving clouds, you just watch the clouds of thoughts moving in the sky of your mind. The flying birds of thoughts, the flowing river of thoughts in the same way, silently standing on the bank, you simply sit and watch. It is the same as if you are sitting on the bank, watching the thoughts flowing by. Don’t do anything, don’t interfere, don’t stop them in any way. Don’t repress in any way. If there is a thought coming don’t stop it, if it is not coming don’t try to force it to come. You are simply to be an observer….
“In that simple observation you will see and experience that your thoughts and you are separate – because you can see that the one who is watching the thoughts is separate from the the thoughts, different from them. And you become aware of this, a strange peace will envelop you because you will not have any more worries. You can be in the midst of all kinds of worries but the worries will not be yours. You can in the midst of many problems but the problems will not be yours. You can be surrounded by thoughts but you will not be the thoughts…
“And if you become aware that you are not your thoughts, the life of these thoughts will begin to grow weaker, they will begin to become more and more lifeless. The power of your thoughts lies in the fact that you think they are yours. When you are arguing with someone you say, “My thought is”. No thought is yours. All thoughts are different from you, separate from you. You just be a witness to them.”
Take a Step Back and Watch the Mind Work
By simply taking a step back and watching the mind work, you can begin to understand how your brain works. It automatically judges, paints things as black or white, and can get stuck in habits.
After a while, you’ll begin to realize that it isn’t really you. It’s simply a tool – and you certainly don’t have to believe everything it thinks.
Learn to be an impartial observer and you’ll begin to understand the quirks of your brain – which will give you enormous liberty from reactive and conditioned ways of thinking. And left alone, your mind will eventually calm itself.
If you have a few spare minutes, here is a video of Alan Watts explaining in a similar fashion to Osho on how to calm the mind.
Originally published on Ideapod’s blog.