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Calming The Mind – Lake Example

Picture the mind as a calm lake stretched before you. See the thoughts that come and go as bubbles rising and breaking on its surface. Make no effort to control the thoughts, but watch them and follow them in imagination as they float away. Hold to the idea, ‘I am not the mind, I see that I am thinking, I am watching my mind act. (Swami Vivekananda)

Hold fast to the idea, I am the witness watching my mind drifting. The mind is not I. See it as a thing entirely apart from yourself. Identify yourself with God, never with matter or with the mind.

This mindfulness meditation is somehow calming and centering; the meditator is not whisked away by every thought. Correspondingly, one’s breathing becomes slower and steadier, and, in the process, the meditator gains a certain sense of detachment and self-mastery — a feeling of well-being that can be palpably felt.

The meditator cannot help but notice that during the meditation there are two minds, as it were, operating: the observer mind and the observed mind.

The outcome of the mindfulness practice is that by perceiving the mind, the meditator can rationally conclude that if I can and do perceive the mind, it necessarily follows: I have a mind, but I am not the mind.

Dedicated aspirants can deepen their meditation practice to a point wherein they begin to intuit firsthand that the mind distorts the reflection of the Purusha, as a lake ruffled by the wind distorts the image of the sun.

Over time when this mindfulness practice is performed even briefly before one’s regular meditation; then a practitioner begins to observe the normally hidden, subconscious thoughts and emotions within the mind that are actually fuelling one’s actions.

When the daily habit of calming the lake of the mind becomes second nature, we find that we can tune in to the mind throughout the day and calm it whenever necessary with the appropriate spiritual antidotes.