The mind is a judgement machine. It watches everything and comments. Like an old granny watching a soap serial, it has an opinion on everything, usually negative.
Other people are not good enough, don’t love you enough, don’t respect you etc etc.
And it judges not just people, but you as well. It judges every thought you have, even the thoughts it itself creates.
This is partly how the ego keeps you enslaved. It first gives you angry/lustful/jealous thoughts, sometimes even making you act out the anger / lustful thoughts, then attacking you for being an angry asshole / slutty bitch / degenerate person.
The problem, as Adyashanti says is, we believe our thoughts are real.
We get a thought that XYZ is an asshole, or that you are not spiritual enough, or that you don’t earn enough money / don’t get the respect you deserve, and rather than seeing it just as another random thought, the mind believes it is true and starts acting on it.
And hence starts our misery. Because thoughts are ephemeral, like the mind, they have no real existence. And so we mind must generate no stop thoughts, just (it thinks) to stay alive.
When WE Watch the Watcher
The mind likes to watch and comment. When we say watcher, this is not the non judgemental witness self. No, the mind not just watches but comments.
Why DOES the mind like to talk so much, to comment on everything?
Because it is scared.
Previously, I talked about FEAR, a raw energy that drives the mind and hence all our actions. The mind is scared, because deep down, it knows it has no real existence. It is like a bubble made of soap floating in the sun, it can pop anytime.
It fears there is no God or Love in the world, that it will die alone in a harsh, cold universe.
This is not true, of course, but just saying God is Love blah blah blah doesn’t convince the mind. You get a million thoughts a day, most of them stupid, and so the mind ignores them. There is a loving Spirit is just another thought (unless you have the experience to back it experience to back it up), and so the mind rightfully ignores it.
Try something now. Sit quietly, or just close your eyes, only for a second. Feel into the pit of your stomach, at the core of your being. What do you feel?
Chances are, you will have an uncomfortable feeling. It can be anger, fear, guilty sex thoughts, anything that makes you want to look away.
That’s why we can’t sit down to meditate. Because that raw energy I call FEAR suddenly rises to the mind. And the mind is forced to confront its biggest fear.
Pogo expressed it best:
What the Watcher is Really Scared Of
The thing that scares the mind shitless is when YOU, the Being inside the body/mind complex, starts looking at the mind.
This happens when you sit to meditate, following any practice, but preferably one that leads to the silence of the mind. (And all techniques do, provided that’s what you want. I mention this only because some people practice meditation to get siddhis, or supernatural powers. Siddhis are yet another game the mind uses to distract you from the truth).
So when you are Silent, the mind is forced to look at itself. Because the mind can’t really shut up, can it? So it tries to analyse the one thing that scares it, ITSELF.
The ego has been called many things in the past. It is the devil of Christianity, and the demons of Hindu/Greek/Roman myths. And this is partly true, as the ego can act very cruelly.
The ego is cruel because it is scared. It feels it will die alone, will be punished by some “vengeful” god who will send it to hell. Since it believes it is fucked anyway, it becomes very cruel, as it feels it has nothing to lose anyway.
This phenomenon is called “What the Hell” effect (not its scientific name, of course 😀 ). You have felt it in your own life. You are trying to lose weight, give up smoking or another bad habit, and you give in to temptation. Then you say, What the hell, I’ve failed, might as well enjoy myself. And then you overeat on cakes, smoke a dozen cigarettes, or whatever, because you feel it doesn’t matter anyway.
Later on, you feel guilty and ashamed, and probably attack yourself very harshly. “I’m such a fat bitch / I’m an idiot with no control / I’m a pig who deserves to DIE”.
Imagine how bad you feel at that moment. That is how the ego feels ALL THE TIME.
Now you see why you are so fucking miserable? The ego (which is the mind for most people) feels hurt and in pain, and so it gets you to look outside for solutions. Anything to take the pain away, to distract itself.
I said how the ego is like the devil. It can act cruel. But as I’ve also said, the ego is more like a hurt child, in constant pain, and looking for a touch of Love.
And the sad thing is, the Spirit stands there, waiting to heal it, but the ego is deaf, it cannot hear.
Looking at yourself
So anytime you are silent, the mind is forced to confront its truth, the hidden shame it carries with it. The mind thinks it is sinful, dirty, guilty, and deserves punishment. And the mind DOES punish itself, it creates situations where it can get hurt and justify its self image.
And this is the reason the mind is so scared of sitting alone. Of meditation. This is the reason you must always distract yourself— via your phone, social media, watching TV, playing video games on end, pornography. Another thing about all these things– they are passive, and that is why they are so dangerous. You are watching other people do brave stuff on TV, or have sex with a dozen women, while you sit there safe in your dark room with a dozen tissues. The subconscious mind is stupid, and doesn’t understand the difference between having sex and watching other people have sex, which is why porn is so popular.
The ego, which is smart, is happy to go along with this delusion, because it helps it in its goal of avoiding the present moment, so it can avoid looking at itself.
From Darkness to the Light
If you cannot yet silence your mind, cannot bear to look at it, at least stop engaging in passive activities. If you must “do” something, make sure it is creative.
Write a book or a blog; learn to paint; learn to program computers; learn to dance or sing; learn martial arts.
There is a whole discipline where people practice meditation by “doing”; martial arts and related arts like Tai Chi are the best example of this, but indeed it could be anything. In Japan, people practice tea ceremonies as a meditation.
Of course, you must FACE the FEAR. But you do can do so on your own terms, when you are ready.
In the meantime, make a list of all passive activities that drain your awareness:
- Checking phone / social media
- Watching TV / porn (there is no difference)
- Playing games for hours on end
If you are not sure if you are addicted, try to give up an activity for a week, then a month. If you feel restless, your fingers looking for the phone, you ARE addicted.
Try to replace the addiction with creative acts. When bored, feel the FEAR in your stomach, see how THE FEAR, and NOT YOU, is the one who feels uncomfortable and wants to distract yourself.
You will fail, of course; the FEAR will defeat you again and again. But what else can you do but fight? Would you rather live with FEAR, crippled with doubt? You have to face the demons one day, start now.
And then, slowly, move from creative acting to acting with awareness. Of doing things consciously, and not as a robot. This is hard to explain in words, and must be felt in experience.
And remember, you are not alone. The power of the WHOLE UNIVERSE is helping you. If it was just you vs the FEAR, you would lose. Every day.
As it is, the Power of the Universe can crush the FEAR like a can, but it needs your permissions; by which, I mean it needs your AWARENESS of it.