Our minds are what make us human....well that, and opposable thumbs. We use our minds to understand, remember, plan, rationalize, organize and logic-ize (and make up words). We use all these functions (and more) to solve our problems...and if we look at even the root of that - to avoid pain and to feel good. In our minds we rationalize and think, "_______ happened and I don't like it. How can I stop _______ to feel ______." In this process we develop habitual responses, automatic reactions and filter everything through the lenses from behind which we see the world. Our thoughts and our perceptions join forces. Overtime and with "practice" our thoughts become our beliefs.
Our society and culture focuses strongly on our minds and the power of our minds. We tend to believe that if we think it, it must be true....and if we want to be "better" we have to think more. I believe this creates a dichotomy where we believe the mind has ALL the answers. We become disjointed from the rest of our bodies and the wisdom that lies in us, beyond the mind - the wisdom of our bodies, our intuitions, our emotions.
When we slow down and become mindful we take a step back from our habitual experience to gain perspective. Being mindful of the mind, we simply view our thoughts from a distance - from a witness perspective. We don't try to stop our thoughts, or empty our mind. On the contrary, we are deeply aware of the content of our thinking - yet we don't become enmeshed in it, we don't get carried away by it. We watch the activity of the mind from a curious, non-judgemental, witnessing perspective - we develop mindfulness around the true nature of the mind and the nature of our thoughts. We see the bigger picture of our minds. We begin to notice what thoughts may (or may not) serve our greater personal good. We may begin to realize thought patterns that dominate our experience (for example, anxious thoughts and worries) or perhaps you notice just how unaware you have been as to the content of the thoughts that dominate the internal world of your mind.
In any case, being mindful of the mind is a very dynamic and engaged process. It takes concentration and awareness, compassion and a lack of judgement. It also takes patience - understanding that we never arrive at a mind that is empty and serene. We arrive with an awareness that we can create space in our minds to notice and to choose our thoughts, reactions and even beliefs.
Taking the Victor Frankl quote one layer deeper, and understanding it as it applies to the nature of the mind: "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
Create space for your own freedom.