All In The Mind

September 29, 2022 by


By Teresa Miller

Have you noticed how much the word “mind” is part and parcel of our lives, how we tell stories and sing songs about the mind, as though it were a phenomenon that operates
on its own, separately from “me”?

Song titles with the word “mind” abound: the difficult conditions of your mind…Pain of Mind, Mind War, Crazy Out of My Mind, Dead-end Mind, Unsound Mind, Mind Games,
All in the Mind, Quiet Mind, Thorn in My Mind, Half a Mind, A Mind With a Heart of Its Own.

Then there’s your mind and what to do with it –
Say What’s On Your Mind, Send Your Mind, Make Up Your Mind,
Mind Control, Relax Your Mind, Free Your Mind, Open Your Mind,
Mind Eraser, When the Heart Rules the Mind, Quiet Your Mind,
Change Your Mind, Travel With Your Mind, (but while you’re traveling, Don’t Lose Your Mind!)

And questions about your mind… If You Change Your Mind,
Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? Where Is My Mind?
Can I Change My Mind?

And traveling around inside the mind…
In the Back of My Mind, First Thing on My Mind, Mind over Matter,
It Never Entered My Mind, Journey to the Center of My Mind,
Peace of Mind, Read My Mind.

A list of things on my mind…there’s Georgia, Barbara, Evil, Julie and Trouble, Empire State of Mind, The Mind of Love, to name a few… If You Could Read My Mind,
Sometimes Nothing Comes to Mind.

But mostly….You Were Always on My Mind, Can’t Get You Off of My Mind, You Been On My Mind, Drive You Outta My Mind (because I’m Going Out of My Head)!

Finally, a bit of resolution about mind…
Got My Mind Made Up, Keep My Mind, Ease My Troubled Mind,
Renew My Mind, and…Last Thing on My Mind.

 Minds can be like monkeys jumping and swinging from here to there…
from decisions about lunch, your job, how to answer that email, relationship snafus, to larger questions about being alive in these bodies.
“What are we doing here? How am I being now?” Questions that invite deep reflection, that might take hours or years or a lifetime for response.

The truth is that whatever you’re doing right now is a training in what you are…and a training in what you are becoming.

In other words, how are you in this moment –
Where is the attention?
What’s the attitude?
What thoughts are present?
What position or action is the body taking now?
How are you responding to what’s arising?

All of these are influencing or driving what you are now and what you’re becoming.

So the question may be – What is it you wish to be/become?

Most of us could probably agree on an answer that incorporates
lessening stress and dissatisfaction and increasing ease and happiness.

As humans, we’ve inherited a brain and a nervous system that are capable of phenomenal imagination and innovation, and that also create dissatisfaction
because the mind allows us to worry about the future, to regret the past,
and to blame ourselves for the present.

We have a tendency to become frustrated when we can’t have what we want, disappointed when whatever we like ends, upset about being in pain, angry and fearful
about dying.

And all of this is normal – it’s OK – as to be human is to experience these waves coming and going. But if the waves engulf us, pound us down or keep us forever
treading water, heads bobbing just above the surface, this is a kind of stress and suffering that is constructed by the mind. However “real” it seems, the mind is functioning
according to patterns we’ve developed over our lifetimes.

The research of neuroscientists says that our fundamental nature is peaceful, with concern for others, and ultimately wise. It also says that the mind can be trained,
due to its amazing plasticity.

 Mindfulness is the skillful use of attention to both our inner and outer worlds. It draws upon past learning to see through confusion and to develop a steadier, more
concentrated awareness. And since the training of attention shapes neural circuits, mindfulness leads to new learning. Mindfulness allows us to discern things as they
really are.

We see that the central core of every being is not ​an unchanging self but a life-current, an ever-changing stream of energy which is never the same for two consecutive

We develop clear comprehension of motive – what’s my intention?, insights about choosing how to respond to life’s small and large daily challenges, including regulating
thoughts, words and actions. In speech for example,
we might adhere to Mark Twain’s words: “If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” We cultivate a wide repertoire of responses that gives rise to
greater ease and reduces stress and dissatisfaction.

Your effort to give a wide berth to any harming, including of yourself, creates a powerful field of integrity for the world. And it’s contagious. As social entities, we clearly
affect each other. Like tuning into a radio station, being around one who radiates tolerance, for example, can help tune our own heart to the same frequency.

We have been designed to care about things other than the gratification of desire and the maximizing of self-interest. Compassion is wired into our nervous system
and encoded in our genes. Seeing someone act in a noble way brings out the nobility in ourselves too. Jonathan Haidt called this phenomenon “the elevation response.”

Training the mind, we change the brain…by allowing us to discern things as they really are. Whatever we’re doing right now, with our attention, with our response to
what we’re noticing- all of it is a training in what we are…and a training in what we are becoming.




Filed Under: Monthly Musings