The Indian sage Meher
‘A mind that is fast is sick, a mind that is slow is sound, and a mind that is still is divine.’
interesting happens as the thinking mind begins to slow down: we start feeling. We start to become more connected with our here and
now experience of what is inside us, and what is outside of us.
Whilst we know that an over busy mind creates stress in the body which can lend itself to emotional reactivity, it is seldom realised that a busy mind also serves the purpose to help us avoid feelings that are usually deeper and more authentic than our surface emotional reactivity. As a busy mind cuts us off from feeling, it also cuts us off from meaning. The search for meaning is then projected outside of ourselves, avoiding the meaning that comes from the deeper inner experience.
Bear in mind that all
experience, even though it may appear to be of something outside of
us, is still an inner experience occurring within the experiencer.
Some yogic traditions say that feeling is being.
We can derive from this that life itself is a felt experience. This
is obvious but apt to be overlooked. We cannot know if we are
genuinely happy or miserable unless we can feel it. Meaning,
therefore, is a felt experience.
The busy mind also
serves to protect us from a perceived emptiness. As long as there is
a faculty for awareness, we can argue, as A Course in Miracles tells
us, that there is no emptiness in us. If this is true, then what is
first perceived as emptiness must be full of something that we are as
yet unable to perceive, or are afraid to. It seems that the quietness
of the mind is confused with emptiness. Fear is then projected or inserted
into this space, even though it is only empty of our busyness,
fretting, worrying and dramatising, or anything that may be familiar
to us. Thus, greater meaning and fulfillment lies in what we do not yet know - the unknown.
First of all we are likely to encounter feelings from the unconscious as well as feelings that we are somewhat aware of. This is good news because feeling our feelings helps us to feel more integrated by bringing us into relationship with our emotional life; with the added bonus that our tears not only help us to release stress hormones but also actually help to quiet the mind. This is the value of the emotional journey we encounter during counselling and psychotherapy, because as the mind quietens, what is more meaningful to us has the chance to reveal itself along with the energy to take steps to realise it.
Naturally, a meditation or grounding practice of some sort is also going to be very helpful and supportive to our psychological and emotional well being. Put simply, we become less driven. As a result, choice becomes increasingly available to us as we become more in tune with our values and the wish to live in accordance with them. Everyone wants to be free, and yet our drive for freedom is often acted out in a way that imprisons us. Success - the freedom to be ourselves - can be inspired rather than driven. As the spiritual teacher Rajpur put it, ‘success is what happens when we get passed the point of feeling like we have to prove ourselves.’ Thus when we are free to be ourselves, our energy is freed up to pursue what is meaningful to us.