Osho was the very first book I read on meditation… before I had even signed up for my first Yoga Teacher Training course. I was travelling India and had never heard of Osho before. I had stumbled across one of his books on a market stall in a dusty road with tattered brown pages and YOGA written across it big orange 90′s-style capital letters. Cultivating an increasing love of Yoga, I felt compelled to buy it.
When I finally got around to reading it, I was on the south west coast and sunbathing. What I read on the beach in Varkala was a whole new concept to me… that the Mind is separate to the Self or Being and does not have to define you.
“WOW. This changes everything.” my inner voice said.
And then I became aware of my inner voice.
And for the first time I realised that my mind was separate to me and may not always have my best interests at heart. The more I observed it, the more I realised it was negative, worried and was ultimately holding me back. This realisation was life-changing and also ‘thought-changing’. I vowed to make a change to my thoughts. To catch the negative ones before they created a ‘story’ or ‘myth’ which would only filter into my behaviour, affecting my daily life and my relationship to myself and others. Instead I started to actively change each thought into a more positive and self-affirming one.
"The important thing is to not let yourself be carried away by the flow, to be a detached witness of it. In this way, you gain insight into the workings of the mind and become aware of how impermanent mental and emotional states are. You realise that your True Self is distinct from thoughts and feelings."
~ Steve Taylor, Waking From Sleep
"Too hard!" "Too Late!" I hear you say! It’s never too late and, well… it IS hard, it does take time, effort and willpower but the whole process is made ten billion times easier through the practice of Yoga and ultimately leads to a deeper happiness.
Nowadays, if my mind starts to run away with itself, I return to Osho’s idea of being the Watcher. Observing each thought that floats into and out of my mind as though just a fly on the wall.
Meditation can be just as challenging today as it was that first time years ago in India. The most challenging part is just committing to the idea of sitting down and closing your eyes… after you’ve managed to find a meditation seat, it’s a whole lot easier. Watching the mind becomes intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable sometimes. Having a sense of humour about my random thoughts has helped me to not take them too seriously.
It’s not about switching the mind off completely, for me it’s more valuable to observe the internal monologue. To notice the fluctuations of my mind and gently remind it of it’s inferior position to my being. Haha! This can be done at any time, when you are walking down the street or travelling to work on the tube.
The Mind is a brilliant tool… as Osho says. However, I think of it as an excitable dog that seeks constant and unrelenting attention… and loves to go “walkies” (see what I did there?). The Mind, too, can be naughty and ‘act up’ if you give it too much freedom. Excitable Dogs respond best to boundaries and the word No.
So if you train your Mind through the practice of Yoga and Meditation, saying a big No when it starts to wander into it’s negative thought-cycles, it will then serve you loyally and always bring to you whatever Intention or positive event that you ask it to ‘go fetch’ from the universe. It will become your best friend.
It just needs to be put in it’s place every now and then.