The answers to all the troubling questions come when the mind is quiet. But when is the mind still? The mind does everything to take this moment ‘right here’ away from us. Past, present, future entwine! Thoughts, ideas, dreams intermix! Tendencies, work, stress compel us!
They all force us to act with an urgency – an immediate need to go somewhere else, reach something, do anything away from ‘Now’!
The paradox is the time to be still and ‘just be’ is always right ‘Now’. But we don’t have the time to be in the present! Strange.
It is all because the mind would not let us be so vibrantly, blissfully and ‘mindlessly’ alive in the present. You see, the moment we relax into the present, mind (read ego) and its stories lose hold over us. And we experience the unexplored dimension.
The workings of the mind
Undoubtedly, the mind is an important tool for existence. It is needed for survival and helps us with the practical aspects of life. But the problem begins when we start identifying and believing whatever mind says. And we think the mind is what we are. We make the mind our master not the other way round.
We believe that we cannot exist without the mind. But ancient masters point out – We can blissfully exist without the mind!
Consider mind to be just an over eager, over protective, sometimes cunning, constantly advising, over agonizing, talkative friend that can change side and become an enemy anytime.
Mind induces our negative tendencies to act superior, be superficial, jealous, hateful, depressed, agonized, angry as well as the positive tendencies to create, appreciate, explore, be affectionate, enjoy…etc
Dissection, analysis, criticism, perspective, judgement – these are the ways of the mind to help us survive in this world. It is a great tool but just that..a tool!
Now, let’s observe how the mind forces us to run away from the present…
Supposedly, I am observing a beautiful sunset. The moment I start enjoying the ethereal show, and my being aligns with what is there in the present, the mind starts its chatter.
“This sunset looks similar to what I saw last week (past). I must take a photo of it for Instagram (future). Had the clouds been darker, the scene would have been captivating (comparison). I wish my kids were here to watch this (wishful thinking). It is sad I can’t keep watching because I have chores to do (self-pity).”
Hmmm… and the NOW, and the ‘Just Be’ state vanishes. The mind takes over, and I become a puppet of the mind – happy, sad, analyzing, swaying between past and future. The moment passes, a great opportunity is lost – the opportunity to just be!
Take for example observing the same scenery without mind’s chatter – still, calm, open, present, as it is! So divinely blissful, so new, so perfect. There is no I, just what is being experienced… such moments of calmness hold immense potential…
Ancient Indian scriptures point out at ‘I’, the ego. The ego is nothing but the mind – the bad and even the good. Mind is important but we are not the mind.
Why is the ‘just be’ state important?
All the answers to our questions are there in the stillness. Because we become at one with the existence and its mystery. The ‘just be’ state allows us to be aware of our own divinity and the mysteries of existence.
And the great question arises – Who am I, if not the mind and the body?
The great Nisargadatta Maharaj gives a hint – We are not that we perceive. And we perceive our body and mind. Then who are we?
The thing is none of the masters ever give a straight answer to ‘Who am I’. We need to find out!
And the answer to this question – ‘Who am I’ is constantly hidden in the ‘now’ and in the ‘just be’ state. But will the mind let us be…? Never.
Sadly, we all have experienced this ‘just be’ state as children. It used to happen to us naturally. Every child is in that state – accepting and flowing. That’s why children are compared to god.
It happens to us even now. Occasionally, we are in touch with our divine self. We are just not aware.
A moment without the mind’s chatter is a divine experience. And we can still experience that childhood state…Meditation techniques can make it possible!
Life is meant to flow in the present, fully and gloriously. When we are ‘live’ we live.
Even the big, traumatic problems can also be resolved if we allow our true self to take over…
A few moments of calmness, in the ‘just be’ state gives more answers, clarity, wisdom and solutions than hours of mind chatter. It rejuvenates and heals…
But the catch is – we can never be in the ‘just be’ state if we are looking for anything – even solutions, bliss or peace. So, how do we do it?
How to ‘just be’?
We are already in the state but we don’t experience it because we never stop listening to the mind. Just be is just be, as it is. Natural like breath.
But we are scared to surrender and let go. We are always thinking or running. Sometimes scared to stop and experience what those moments of revelations might reveal! We are afraid we might see our wounds which are hiding deep inside us…
Also, many of us are overworked and have many chores to do. There is no time to pause, sit and just be with ourselves.
The masters say that we need to take out time for meditation only in the beginning. After that, the state comes naturally, even in chaos… integrated in everything.
How to ‘just be’? We don’t need to do anything. It is just allowing, accepting and surrendering (to the divine universal power).
The just be’ state is not about dealing with what the mind says or shows. It is just about being comfortable with everything about ourselves and around us. Allowing everything to happen, accepting everything that is happening and surrendering in the now. And knowing that all is being taken care of….
It is just about letting it be, observing everything like a movie, without engaging with it, staying aware and knowing that past or future is nothing. Present is. Even for just a moment…
It is the way to accept things as they are, and not trying to do anything, go, or reach anywhere… There is no ulterior motive. Just complete surrender to what is – is the ‘just be’ state.
Notice, how mind chatter grows louder as soon as we consciously try to be comfortable. The mind tries every trick to make us uncomfortable.
So how do we deal with the mind? The answer is – by not dealing with it at all. Nothing needs to be resolved, done or pondered upon. Just watching and staying aware..
And the strange thing about the mind is – it goes still the moment we start becoming aware of it. Just like a naughty child when caught doing some mischief, stops.
We do not need to silence the mind or do anything about it. We just need to observe it nonchalantly. It has no power without our support.
And then automatically it happens – we breathe deeply, the body goes still and we flow into the ‘just be’ state. Ah, just one moment of that… is enough! The surrender, breathing, stillness and the present…
And we realize we are already perfectly aligned to everything.
“Having never left the house, you are looking for the way home.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj
The irony is the real answers to all troubling questions come, when one is at one with ‘Now’. But we keep running from pillar to post, avoiding that which holds all the answers. Haribol!
(Images courtesy Google)