A huge part of the journey of spiritual awakening is shifting our focus more and more from the mind to the heart.
Western civilization has been built on the glorification of rational thinking. Our modern society is still largely defined by Rene Descartes famous quote from almost four hundred years ago, “I think therefore I am.”
Personally, I believe that Descartes got it backwards. I would say “I AM therefore I think.” In other words, being is primary and thinking (and doing) is secondary.
The rational mind is an incredible and essential tool in this human life. We couldn’t function without it. But, most of us are addicted to thinking.
If you watch your mind closely, you’ll quickly notice that most of what goes through it is a waste of time. Perhaps 5% of the thoughts are useful, whereas the rest are simply a distraction.
So, how do we free ourselves from this addiction and learn to live more in the Present/from the Heart.
The first step is awareness, watching our minds and seeing how few of the thoughts moving through are useful. Meditation is a great way to cultivate this awareness.
The next step, as in breaking any addiction is choice. Once we realize how much of our time we spend focusing on useless, often fear-driven. thoughts of past and future, we can choose to spend more time in the Present.
Then, we continue being aware, noticing when we’re falling back into the old habit of excessive thinking and when we’re in the Heart enjoying the Present.
A key to this process is to pivot back to the Present as soon as we notice our attention has once again been seduced by unproductive thoughts.
The simplest way I know to do this to be grateful for the gift of awareness. Rather than beating myself up for once again getting distracted, I’m grateful for the awareness which allows me to notice. As soon as I feel the gratitude I’m back home in the Present.
Another way to shift out of the mind is to ask the question, “Who is aware of that thought?” The obvious answer is “I AM.” The key is to have the answer not just be words in the mind, but a direct felt experience. This is a powerful way to build a bridge from the mind to the Heart.
Certainly, we can also be grateful to have the gift of a rational mind, which helps us navigate through the challenges of human life. But, don’t spend all of your time thinking. Spend more time being Present/receiving the gift of Life with your Heart.
Through this practice, you can discover for yourself that Descartes was wrong. I AM not my mind. I AM That which is aware of the mind.