So put yourself in my shoes for a second.
You're sitting at home—nothing booked on your calendar. You feel bored but not that bored. A bit hungry but not too hungry. You're frankly quite confused about what you should be doing with the time that you have.
Being in this type of limbo makes you feel slightly anxious. Slightly annoyed. Slightly scared.
You look to see if anything around you needs tending to. Like a lighthouse, you shine the light of your awareness, illuminating the space around you, trying to find something – anything. "Cure me of my boredom. Please."
There are things all around, but your mind says, "Eh. Not interested." Or, at other times, it's a feeling of dullness, colourlessness, and apathy that takes hold instead. You find yourself stuck in a thought loop (reoccurring series of thoughts).
"Was I placed on this planet solely to be entertained?" you ask yourself. It's a valid question. It seems like our minds and screens hold the key to relieving that feeling of dis-ease. This key allows us to forget about our failure to live – and all other failures. It provides momentary relief from the burden of existence – a temporary veil we use to cover our eyes.
But we should ask ourselves: Do we want to exist or live?
To live means to be courageous. It means facing the immediateness of each moment without any preconceptions. It means dancing with our fear of the infinite – the one fact that we're all running from. It's finding the strength to face the universe, look it in the eye, and say, "Yes! I accept all of it. Even the scary stuff."
Thankfully, no pill can bring you courage. It is up to us to face our inner demons – our latent tendencies, behaviours, and beliefs.
To me, at least, it starts with unravelling the mind. More specifically, straightening out this matter of identification. Identifying with a mind has probably caused more damage to this world than any weapon ever could. It is an easy option. We often look to the outside world (parents, school, media) to reaffirm what our inside world should be like.
Once we find a small amount of reaffirming evidence that is supplied to us, at times, by rather dodgy sources– we drop the matter entirely. Highly unscientific but very human.
We go through all of this to update and maintain a self-concept (our elevator pitch).
Our lives are dictated by the constant pursuit of improving our elevator pitch.
"Hello! My name is Manansh Shukla. I like to play basketball, watch movies, hang out in nature, and build new things. I am currently building a user research agency/community."
My mind hopes that'll instead be:
"Hi! My name is Manansh. I am a multi-millionaire, best-selling author, a world-renowned expert in [something], best in the world, people love me, super smart, and your mother likes me better."
Okay. I am exaggerating. But you get the point. Our minds NEED approval and adoration from other people. It wants this new and improved elevator pitch to become our reality – immediately. But the problem is that reality doesn't work that way (bummer – I know). I wish it were the case that we could conjure anything from our minds into physical reality, but I guess whoever designed the universe decided not to include that feature.
This identification to a story. This is suffering. We live as if we're the actors in a movie when, in fact, we are the ones watching in the cinema hall.
REMINDER: YOU ARE NOT THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD.
You are the one who hears it. Remember this always. Wrong identification gets fixed only by:
- Knowing that it is wrong
- Remembering until it's permanent.
Ignorance (not knowing) is only cured with knowledge (knowing).
It takes courage to do this. It's not easy. We've fallen into the habit of relying on our minds for just about everything, and in my observations, we've severely misused it. The mind is good for 2 things:
- Intention setting
Beyond those two, it's frankly quite useless. It's like running around and using a hammer to do everything. Imagine having to cook dinner with a hammer, drive a car with a hammer, and write an email with a hammer. This is what we're doing with our minds – we usually don't notice because we are so identified with the mind.
Once you realize the identification with "the voice in your head" is not helpful, you will notice these things too.
It reminds me of a condition zoo animals sometimes exhibit when stressed – Zoochosis.
Like how the elephant is constantly pacing – our mind is constantly in conversation with itself.
After correcting this identification matter, things suddenly get interesting.
You're not your mind. Okay! Am I the breath? No! Am I the body? NO!
What am I?
Our practice is going through this process and working our minds back to this point. In this state, where we become incredibly receptive to our current experience, is where, frankly, miracles happen.
Do you know about the thing you were worrying about? Doesn't exist here.
That person that broke your heart? Doesn't exist here, either.
Worry, fear, and anxious thoughts? Don't f**king matter.
What should you be doing right now, at this moment? None of ya business.
JUST SAY YES!
Having dropped all wrong identification, I guess it would be safe to say that we have merged with the infinite. We were always merged with it – we didn't know it. And that's the difference—the knowing.
The substratum of reality we all share is finally seen, not through the eyes and the senses but from an inner sensing faculty within.
This openness (sense of YES) is where genuinely original thoughts, feelings, and inspiration comes from. When you stop being a person, you can finally start living.
Why worry about tomorrow when there is no one there to worry about it? And when you're not worried, don't be surprised when miraculous, amazing, fantastic, awe-inspiring events start to transpire.
The death of our self-concept is the birth of our greatest good.
Let's live – together.