More Than a Mind

imageI was participating in a meditation recently where the meditation teacher stated: “Everyone’s source is their mind”. While I greatly respect this teacher and align with most of his teachings I have difficulty with this one idea.

It is commonly held in our culture that our mind is the sum of who we are. Our mind is, after all, responsible for our personality, it is the birthplace of our creativity, the storehouse of our memories and the origin of our beliefs. Even still I cannot identify the mind as our “source”.

While our mind is essential to our lives, it cannot be solely what defines us. Just as the body does not define us nor our worth, the mind alone cannot be the measure of our worth or explained as the source of the Self.

According to the World Health Organization nearly 350 million around the world suffer from depression, not to mention the countless others who suffer from other conditions of the mind such as anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar, Alzheimer’s and a host of other illnesses where our thoughts can be distorted and where the state of mind is not, in fact, an accurate reflection of the one experiencing the symptoms. 

The mind and the body act in service to the true Self, our actual source.  This deeper Self is our truth. It is the beingness that is supported by both mind and body. Just as the body can become ill and not uphold its commitment to help us function so too can the mind go through periods where it is challenged to help us function in an optimal or healthy way. 

We will not all experience a mental health diagnosis but all of us experience, from time to time, evidence that the mind does not reflect the essence of who we are. We all experience periods when our thoughts betray us and our mind can not be relied on for healthy living.The mind can be menacing with it’s criticisms, thoughts of inadequacy, hopelessness and stories of lack. The thoughts can tumble in on us in a cascade of negativity but the truth of who we are is beneath the layers of thought.

Our truth is what we find between the thoughts. It is the landscape upon which the thoughts fall. It is unchanging. It is kind. It is whole and it is precious regardless of the quality of our thoughts or our mental state at a given time.

So what can we do during times of clouded mind or tormenting thoughts? I think the best thing we can do is hold the awareness that we are not our thoughts. By seeing the distinction we can access our deeper self to witness the destructive thoughts and hold space for our truth amidst the mistaken mind. Some times it just simply doesn’t work to positive think our way out of a funk but if we can hold ourself steady through it without aligning with the thoughts or believing them we can see our way to the other side of it. 

In addition there are skills we can hone that teach us how to detach from our mind and instead access a greater power within. My Deeper Cravings journey took me on a path of healing in my relationship with my body but it also opened up a much deeper relationship with my true Self. The practices of presence (meditation, mindfulness, artful reflection etc) that I learned on the Deeper Cravings path acquainted me with how to access the Self beneath my mind.

It is this Self that is the source of our beingness, our humanity and that connects us to each other and all that is. We are not our body nor our mind but rather we are the Divine within, immeasurably worthy…no matter what.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/16230215@N08/3522744145″>Meditation</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;