With the mind we can think, project and imagine that we can do many things.
The mind has a fast projection rhythm, the mind does not contemplate the body. The body (material world) only has a quote-unquote “limited” capacity to expand, to change, to move forward. The reality is that the body has fixed and unalterable processes to follow to transform itself, while the mind constantly transforms itself effortlessly: it goes from one thought to another, it moves in space and time with just a thought or an emotion.
The mind fluctuates rapidly between past and future almost constantly. Only in moments of high concentration, such as when writing this text, where one manages to literally turn every idea into real action (as when creating art, teaching a discipline or studying it), is that the mind can be for several intermittent continuous moments in the present. And yet some other thoughts may intersect.
The mind that connects us with the past and the future always presents us with the idea of fear.
The fear of repeating painful instances of the past isolates us from people, encapsulates us in isolation and loneliness, nostalgia and despair. The fear of losing control in the face of a new, unknown experience, and not knowing what may happen in the future, whether it will work out or not, prevents us from living new experiences and, through them, breaking certain limits of structures that we put there for ourselves.
That is why when we have a mind that continually fluctuates between past and future, the feeling we have is that of being stuck. As if the wheel didn’t turn, we do things and yet we don’t get anywhere. We repeat patterns, we repeat situations and misfortunes, we feel lost and aimless. What we do does not fulfil us. Because internally we know that we are not breaking those internal barriers, we are staying inside. Or maybe we don’t even know it, we just recognize the feeling of being stuck.
If our feeling is that of being stuck and stagnant, it is logical that the last thing we want is to sit still and observe the present in silence. It is paradoxical, because it is exactly what we need. The problem is that we do not realize that the stagnation is precisely because our mind is constantly swinging between memory and fear, between comfort and desire. We believe at first glance that we are still, but actually, the mind cannot be still.
Through techniques of quieting the mind we can gradually open the gap so that the mind can recognise itself in the body. So that it can be reflected: “I think this, but my body is this”; “my body feels this, (pain, tension, stiffness) but my mind wants to keep climbing mountains”; or “my body has all these capacities but I am afraid to show them, to put them into practice or to try to build something by trusting in my abilities”.
With observation comes acceptance. The ‘I Am’. Without judgement, honestly evaluating my virtues and my impediments. When I see who I am today I can stop longing for what I was. When I see how much I have grown and the experience I have accumulated, I realise that I am no longer a fearful boy or girl, that then I am an adult and I can encourage myself, I can make decisions, I can consciously change my reality and support myself when my decisions don’t go as expected. That is the true process of breaking down structures.
A sensation of liberation and overflow ensues, which is convenient to work through channeling tools, such as psychological therapy, saddhana, trust and containment groups, artistic expressions of all kinds; a conscious exercise of the body, mind and emotions, and regular contact with nature.
The Plant Alchemist