We may or may not understand that the mind is one of the most important aspects of our life, that it is something that should be cherished, nurtured and looked after. A person could have many problems with the physical body but still have a functioning mind and be able to accomplish things and change how we think about things, for example, Stephen Hawking. However, someone without a mind is incapable of looking after themselves. The mind is the fulcrum for all of our activities that we do in life. From driving a car, to doing our taxes or making big life decisions, the mind is a huge determinant of how we life as human beings.
At the core of the mind is how we perceive and experience life. Everything we come into contact comes through the screen of the mind. An external event can be perceived in many different ways by many different people. A football match can be seen as a positive experience if your team wins, a negative experience if your team loses and complete ambivalence to a person who does not care for football. A movie can be understood in many way – there can be like, dislike, comprehension, confusion, appreciation, anger, etc. We can see how our mind plays a huge role in not only how we perceive reality but also our reactions against reality, based on our happiness and suffering.
To go even further, a person can have the same event happen twice but react differently because the mind is in a different mood. For example, we get a meal and one day be happy and enjoy the meal while another day we have the same meal but are unhappy and so we don’t enjoy the meal We steadily start to find that the mind is the main reason for our happiness or suffering.
Given the huge gravity the mind has in our life, it is important for us to understand how it can best be used to work efficiently and correctly. As it is such a large and complex entity, we need a didactic way in which to explore the nature of the mind. The way this has been done for centuries is meditation. Simply put, meditation is the science of the mind.
In order to meditate, we must put ourselves in the best possible conditions. We need to bring all other aspects of life to a minimum so we can see the mind working without any interference. We then study the mind, find problems with the mind and find solutions. We are looking to get to the origins of our problems.
In Gnosis, we categorise meditation into two types:
- guided meditation – pranayama, mantras, working with the chakras, etc.
- self-guided meditation – inner silence, serene reflection
Both help us in our quest to understand the mind and allow it to become a more useful tool for our work.