Symran > Mindfulness Research & Guides > Mind and Consciousness

Mind and Consciousness

Although we all have our subjective experience, can we say what the mind is? Or  What is consciousness?

The contemporary views of psychology, religion, philosophy, neuroscience, and cybernetics all come up with different interpretations of mind and consciousness.

Our mind is a restless creature always wandering from one thing to another, replaying past memories or fantasing about future, constantly fleeing from fears and craving pleaures.

Just consider your way to work today, can you remember what you passed, who you saw, our emotions, your bodily sensations, the environment? Probably not, most likely you were “busy” thinking, living in your head, perhaps worrying about work, or finances, reassesing relationships, replaying past events etc while life passes us by.

This constant chattering-mind constantly shifts us frm one thing to another and inevitably leaves us exhausted by the end of the day, while many desprately seek drugs, alcohol or just mindless TV in an attempt to “switch off” our minds.

Far more concerning is that we are aware of only a minute propostion of our frenzied minds, although not hard to recognise.

Try this simple experiment

Read the instruction first, once you have clear understanding of what is requested in this simple experiment, close your eyes and perform the exercise.

Sit in a confortable place, and close you eyes. Now visualise a white circle in your “minds eye”
Next visualise a white dot in the middle of the circle on a black background
Now focus all your attention UNDISTRACTEDLY on the image and keep it clear and steady in your mind for a few minutes.

Did you manage to maintain the image clear in your mind?

Were you able to hold the image steady?

Did you notice how your attention wanders away to passing thoughts, fantasies or sensations?

Now, if we are unable to control our minds with such a simple exercise, it becomes apparent that our minds are in control of us and far more concerning is that, those who control our minds through conditioning via TV, video games, etc, also control us!

Your mind has a mind of its own! Also known as ADD, attention deficit disorder. ADD wreck the lives of many children and parents, unable to sustain attention for any reasonable period of time means education suffers, behaviour becomes erratic and even dangerous, relationships become harder to maintain.

The Symran course addresses the very thing in which Western psychology has threwn up its hands at its inability to calm and tame the mind. While Western psychologist stated that attention can not be sustained, many ancient wisdom tradition not only state that attention must be sustained, but more importantly show practically how it can be sustained.

Our minds have the ability to mirror and take on the qualities f whatever it attends to. Exposing ourselves to anger and violence makes us experience similar emotions and thoughts, and if we focus on loving people, our minds tend to fill with love. The Symran course helps us recognise the relationship between our thoughts and emotions, and more importantly helps us learn simple and effective techniques to cultivate our attention. This recognition makes two things apparent and has the ability to profoundly impact on our lives and emotional, mental and physical health.

By being able to control attention, we can concentrate on healthy memories and specific people in order to evoke qualities such as joy, love and peace.

Our mental diet is even more importantly than our food. If we eat something unhealthy we may exercise or in the case of having eaten something poisonious, we may expel the content in one way or another, however, consider what options we have of “clearing” our minds of unhealthy thoughs, images etc?

In our everyday unawareness, we have a TV and Media mental diet of violence, fear, greed and fear, and constant exposure to these qualities mirror the same within our minds.

By cultivating wise attention, we are able to mindfully select a healthier diet of what we should expose ourself and our children too.