I have developed a much healthier and empowering relationship with my mind in recent years. For many years, my mind practice had been overly influenced by the education system I had experienced. I had been trained to navigate the world, or make the attempt, primarily by cogitating my way through things and acquiring additional knowledge.
Fortunately from a relatively young age, I was attracted to topics that have continued to resonate for me: psychology, philosophy, art, music, and later: science, mysticism, personal growth, and human potential and transformation. I was also fortunate enough to be exposed to at least the concept of meditation and, through my parent’s conversion to Quakerism, the idea of the “inner light” at a fairly young age (for my day).
I am grateful that my mind seemed to have some capacity to coalesce disparate knowledge and ideas in ways that seemed fairly synergistic and coherent—at least within my own head. Being exposed to Michael Murphy’s framing of “Evolutionary Panentheism” allowed me to make sense of, and hold, all of it within a unified framework that pointed toward further learning and, more importantly, practice, growth, and evolution.
I had engaged in various practices -- music and meditation -- and various modalities like therapy and coaching. I went to a lot of workshops and exposed myself to many experiences and people. In all of this, there was some Urge within myself, and without. Something that the synergized knowledge pointed to, but wasn’t. Many experiences would seem to approach it, or occasionally touch it—for a time. And when it was touched, the paradigms, frameworks, constructions within myself were, and are, transcended and transformed.
One of my current edges in my practice of mind is that frequently my interaction with my mind is still overly dialogical. But the dialogue has gotten much “better”—more spacious, porous, loving, meta, more observant, and allowing vs. attempting to make a case or think my way through things. I have intentionally cultivated a healthier, more loving, more emergent relationship with my mind.
Another, deeper, edge is moving beyond thought, perhaps even emotion (although, there’s definitely a “feeling” of my way into it), beyond, but very related to, the structures and paradigms I’ve constructed or adopted (consciously or unconsciously) to touching the “thing” beyond word and concept that is wanting to emerge. (In addition to “beyond” the metaphor of being “within” the structures—like the space within the house—also comes to me—the depth of involution, as well as the transcendence—an inward and an outward.) Word, concept, emotion, all might point to It in their higher—and, well, lower—moments. There’s a following of the bread crumbs, a listening to, or for, the emerging impulse.
One kind of tell for me is a sort of figure-ground reversal that shows up in various ways—such as a shift away from experiencing “mind” as something within me looking out—it just is, everywhere. Unlike some other meditative states, within this, I feel a sense of injunction from the divine. Sometimes it just punches me in the face. Other times it takes a discipline of practice to get there, and once there, being there is often a profound resting point—one that I don’t want to leave, a recovery, from which I often emerge with new marching orders, or sense of direction or exploration, in the manifest world—usually including the admonition (in words) to “come back more often.” Other times it can be more daunting, with a strong sense of, in the (translated) words of Rilke, “You must change your life.”