The Nine Stages of Calm Abiding Meditation

How I tamed my mind?

I’m writing this to show myself the great deal I’ve moved forward and to learn from what’s been accomplished instead of sobbing for what’s left. And I’m also writing this to share it with others. Learning is a process in which sharing takes a central place and in which passing on what’s been learnt makes you bold.

I didn’t decide to tame my mind out of sudden. I walked hand in hand with her for a long time before I realized what I ought to. (Just now, when I had to decide a pronoun for mind I noticed that I assume my mind is a woman to me.)

What’s happened is also what happens when it comes down to hunting dogs: in fact, our mind is a poorly trained hunting dog, dare I say. Teach the dog what he is supposed to fetch and he will trace it no matter what.

Allow me for one more digression: When wolves started to be tamed a bunch of men must have paid the cost of turning them into dogs. Eventually, they succeeded. Not be eaten by the wolf, that’s the aim on this regard.

I said I didn’t decide to tame my mind out of a sudden but what I did with no time lapse in between was to take action when I realized I had to do something if I wanted to be friends with my whole self and the whole we’re all part of. You probably have experienced it yourself; it starts within: you need to perform differently, in a certain pulse, a clear one within.

Alright, so what I decided to do was one thing: I had to do something. I didn’t think of it as we’d think of a chore, but rather like: I’m ready, challenge accepted!

Now when I look back at it I can see a few clear fields where I went to meet her. I approached her not in a warfare attitude but rather I had the clear light of what I wanted to get from each battle.

I want to make it clear: Aligning yourself with your whole being is a constant and conscious movement towards the goal. No striving, just moving forward.

I rely a lot on my mind. I used to rely almost absolutely on her, letting her decide how reasonable many spiritual learnings I kept coming across were. And of course, she’d always say: ‘Yes, we’ll look into that soon’ or ‘Yeah, it sounds alright but it’s not that simple’. Things like that, and others which you probably have heard, never actually taking the time to take things to the next level.

Having stated this and having clarified that it was a totally intuitive decision and by no means formally designed, I came to meet my mind in quite inviting grounds:

Thought
Food
Sleep
Sex
Break habits

Thoughts
Our mind sets the standard for meaningful and meaningless and tries to get back on stage showing off and appealing to rather concrete demonstrations of how indispensable she is to make you realize what a big mistake it is not to take her seriously, to the letter. She tries to show that she is there for a greater good. Although many times having her on your side is significant and certainly helpful it isn’t all that counts. As Rumi stated in the 13th Century: Silence is the language of god, all else is poor translation… and she doesn’t know how to be silent!

The point in taming my mind was to be aware when she was deciding prior to having to decide. Mind is memory, memory is past, past is prologue.

You should know by now that thoughts get rusty.

I hold dearest one of Krishnamurti’s famous and powerful teachings: the observer is the observed. Every time she criticizes you, she’s criticizing herself. She behaves as if she were a sort of alien unrelated to us, some sort of I- have- all -the- answers guru, and we believe her!

We set apart and look at ourselves with disappointment: ‘Oh, despicable me, how can I?’

Remind yourself you are that you judge.

We are all familiar to the expression “food for thought” which I like as a metaphor and recur to every time I can.

But we ought to be careful as to which food we feed our thoughts. Our mind needs food. Her diet is based on whatever you might feed her: good or positive, bad or negative- she clearly prefers the latter. She behaves like a 4 year old kid who’d feed on ice cream for the rest of his/her life, ice cream being negative ones. Most parents, I’d like to think, would not allow for that. Alright, do yourself the same.

She can’t be feeding on criticism, harsh feelings (our own’s or external, it makes no odds), remorse, hatred, fears, bad memories, arguments, wounds (self inflicted or with origin in the hostile outside world around our buble), regret or sadness of any source.

She’s been doing that for who knows how many years. Isn’t it time for her to swerve? Break habits. Change your mindset. Forget everything you think you’ve learnt so far. We should always keep this as a lifelong target to hit. Whenever you are too sure about something, allow some space for doubts to bubble up and challenge your certainty. (I’m not too good at this yet!)

We love to think that going over and over the same things again is the way. That we’ll eventually shed light on what was obscured by clouds.

I have no doubts that thoughts are obscured by clouds, behind a dense curtain of fake smoke or else, but above them the sun shines.

The more we look at thin, the least we connect to the truth beneath the,
Always remember we don’t see things as they are but as we are.

Cleanse all your biases but then trust the interpreter within. Trust your gut.

Food
We eat to live, not otherwise.

Learn about what you eat, why we eat, what our body needs to work well, properly.

Seeing food as craving in the old Roman banquet style plays against you in a subtle yet dangerous way. When you say yes to edibles and drinkables recklessly your mind gets used to having you doing (once more!) what she tells you to. If this sounds a too tough to make, at least, challenge her once in a while and have fun.

The first step I took was quitting meat. I didn’t have any idea other than stop eating other living beings, cute and naive as it sounds.

It’s the kind of things your mind would usually ask ‘What’s the point?’ It won’t change anything. Well, this is essential and exceeds eating habits: change as we’d like to perceive it is not always the way it happens.

Listen to your mind as she lists the many valid reasons there are not to alter your diet and keep her going until she’s finished and answer ‘Thank you for your input’ and move on.

If sweets and you were made to love each other, then there’s a useful thing I did that I want to share here:

I went into a shop and bought a handful of the sweets I liked the most and committed to eating only one each day, even when I knew there were many at hand. After the first few days I was pretty much able to hold a conversation with my mind, letting her know what I pretended: I meant to shrink it by starving her to a healthy limit.

And one last worth-a-many lesson: see how food is produced. From that you can give the name to things that once known can’t be forgotten.

Sleep
I feel that one of the most suitable moments to observe your mind and her subtle persuasion is the time when the alarm has just gone off and you have to get out of bed; particularly when there’s a light morning ahead and you could sleep two more hours (at least). I’m not saying that from now on you must never again stay in bed enjoying the meantime between dreamstate and ‘conscious’ state. Just listen to her whispering in your ear ‘Ten more minutes mean no harm to today’s chores, come on, postpone the alarm clock.’ You do so and ten minutes later she’s saying “that was nothing, we couldn’t even fall asleep again, let’s give it five more minutes time”. Before you can tell, you’ve spent at least 30 minutes in vain conversation with your lousy mind.

Be wise at night while setting the alarm. Stick to the flight plan of the previous night. Try to get 8 hours of sleep every night.

Sleep on this for the next few days. Get up quietly but resolutely and get used to her complaints. She’ll be barking for some time. Dogs rely so much on barking because they have figured out that you’ll be wishing to do anything to make him stop. So does a baby, of course. Pay no attention until she goes off.

Sex
Dress well, speak well, cook well, look well, write well. Everything we do, we do it in order to be likeable. This doesn’t necessarily mean we want to shag every single person we see, but indeed it means we want to make sure we appeal in our most favorable way to others.

It’s temptation that drives us, our shallowest being in our daily life: bargains, deals, sales, discounts.

This quote, I love it: Sex has the power of both illusion and liberation depending on the participants’s degree of conscious awareness.

Live your sexual life as real as you can.

Break habits
Habits get rusty, too.

The best you can do is put some distance (physical distance in space and time) with things you think you cannot live without.

Of course, it’s essential to build up healthy habits, but even healthy habits reach a stage of stagnation that’s extremely important to perceive.
Once in a while, give yourself a break.

I started playing drums aged 13. I went on to study for several years, then slowly began to lose interest until eventually I found myself stuck with other things which I considered more important at the time, so I sold it. For about 4 years I didn’t play drums at all. I literally unplugged my musical side. Then, this one day I felt I wanted to play drums again. So I did.

There’s a teaching I really appreciate: you can’t lose anything that you can’t lose.

If after some time you come across the idea of doing that you really enjoyed or had lost interest in, then embrace it again and keep it close to you.

Farewells
So, now I can notice when she’s taking over. She’s strong, she’s wise, she’s talented, she’s powerful: she’s the seat for ego, seat of govern by default. It’s essential to be aware instead of resting upon a victory.

But please, be ware. Tamed lions have killed their trainers. So can your mind do. As you embrace this new consciousness, she’ll be there, ready to say ‘I don’t believe you’

This doesn’t mean “never trust your mind”. On the contrary, the goal is to blend your mind to your body and spirit. This holy triad should be kept aligned for the sake of the whole.

Imagine I were to give you a little nice cuddly horse for your birthday but instead of nourishing him, you left him in the woods and intended to come back for him in a few years time and meet him akin you remember him. The more time he spends in the wild, the wilder and autonomous it becomes. The same goes for your mind. If once tamed you stop caring about her she’ll do whatever she wants.

The more I look at this subject the more I see how much more can be done everyday. There’ll never be too many things to bring in no matter how small they might seem. Maybe a word, a higher thought, a detail you perceived that before you didn’t use to.

Take it slowly: don’t miss today’s soup thinking in tomorrow’s cake.

I know there still is a long way to go. I kind of feel excited about it, but I want to make it with a tamed mind.