Where is your finger? Your head? Your heart? Somewhere else entirely?
Different cultures and different traditions experience the centre of their being in different places in their body, but for all of them thinking is the always the last say.
You may be particularly sensitive to feeling when someone is approaching you from behind, but your mind interprets these feelings and then labels them, “Hang on, someone’s coming.”
You may experience emotions through your heart centre but your mind is the ability to recognise these and compare them to other feelings and experiences that is useful.
Your mind is the channel for your experience of your reality on all levels; the five physical senses, the sixth sense, and gut feelings.
But this presents a problem. Because, even though we would benefit from a mind that is clear and focused, we are really good at making ours muddled and confusion on a daily basis.
And this struck me once when I was playing in the sand…
We’re really lucky where we live, because the builder’s have chosen to create a small children’s area with, amongst other things, a sandpit. As you guessed, we’ve got kids so this kinda works for us.
My son loves to go there. When I get back from work, or wherever I’ve been that day, and as long as it’s not throwing it down with rain, we’ll head off to the sandpit.
it’s a really clever design. if you’re thinking of building one, this is what they did.
First, they built a wooden box and fixed it to the ground with some pegs. Then they lined this with a fine mesh, tough, nylon inner bag which comes up to the height of the box. They attached two wooden runners to each side of the box with sliding wooden doors on to each side. Then they filled the bag lined box with sand and it’s ready to go.
When you get there, the doors on top of the sandpit need sliding open. You pull back each side and then you can climb in (if you’re 2 years old anyway). Sometimes people leave these doors open and bits of twig and leaves get blown into the pit and mix with the sand.
So, the other day when I’m sitting there watching my son playing, I started to think about how long it would take before the sandpit was full of this debris. ‘It’s like my head,’ I thought to myself.
Your Mind As A Sandpit
Interesting. And this is one of the things that can cause the muddle and confusion that we talked about earlier. Just like the sandpit we can clog up our thinking with mental debris. How long does it take for these impurities to build up and how do they affect your play?
When you leave your mind unguarded all sorts of unskillful things can get in. This can be things like: other people’s judgments; the negative media; sensationalist stories; talk filled with fear; gratuitous images and films; gossip and loose talk.
The more of these things that get into your mind the harder it is to find your pure thoughts. You become weighed down by all these kinds of rubbish.
Here are some ways to deal with them:
Close the doors. With the sandpit you close the doors on the top to stop the leaves and twigs blowing in. With your mind you can focus your attention on just the things that you value and that are important to you and ignore the rest.
Sort out the twigs. If any debris does get into the sandpit then you pick the bits out one by one. If you have unskillful thoughts in your mind then you can remove them one by one by picking them out and examining them and deciding if you want to keep them or not.
The sticks and twigs are not the sandpit. Although you could use them to play with if you want, (you could dig a hole with the stick for instance). Similarly, your destructive thoughts are not you. Once you become conscious of them you might choose to let go of them, remove them completely, or modify them so that you can use them in a more constructive way.
Work with the clean sand. Forget the twigs and bits, push them to one side. Work with the good quality stuff and build your sand-castles with that. Meditation is a good way of improving the quality of your mind sand (this metaphor has stretched to breaking point so I’ll finish with that one).
Look, I’m not a psychologist, these are just things I’ve noticed about how my mind seems to work. Like a lot of things, it needs constant cleaning and care. It needs your focus, attention, and awareness.
I would love to know if you’ve shared a similar experience or if this post has been useful, so please drop a comment below. It helps me to shape future content as well, so thanks in advance for your feedback.