Wax On/Wax Off #1: Parenting the Mind

If you missed Wednesday’s post, Parting Ways with the Snooze Button, I promised to share some tricks of the trade I learned while in the ashram. No, not the spa, an actual Hindu monastery.

So, with a nod to Mr. Miagi, I’m calling this my Wax On/Wax Off series, exercises for your mental muscles.

Yes, I know that Mr. Miagi was actually a Buddhist Karate Master, but may I remind you that he was also a fictional character and, for the purposes of this post, shall serve in a universal capacity as benevolent guru symbol.

Are we all together now?

Very well, let’s begin.

PRACTICAL TIPS TO GET YOURSELF GOING

1) Parenting the mind.

When faced with an unpleasant task, or one which, for whatever reason, elicits the mind’s “tantrum response,” it behooves the higher self to take control. This requires that one dis-identify oneself with the mind, and instead view it as, practically, a seperate entity. As in,

atmaiva hyatmano bandhur, atmaiva ripur atmanah –The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul and his enemy as well. Bg 6.5

Personally, my mind is quite like a child, so I tend to treat her as I would a little person. Parenting styles do differ. Some find that they need to really put their foot down:

Alright, missy. That’s. It.

However, you might start with a gentler (yet still firm) approach:

“I know, honey. It’s hard being an unbridled mind, but we’re going to do this now.” Then take the mind’s “hand” as you would a small child, sniveling or kicking & screaming, and lead her to the task at hand.

As with a child, it is crucial to acknowledge the mind’s feelings, however irrational they may seem, before proceeding on your healthy, adult way.

I’ll leave you with this one, for now. It works. If you try it, please let me know your experience.

And don’t forget to give your mind a big hug.

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