No Mind

in Special Feature 23 July 2015

Article by Armando Vazquez-Masson
Eastbourne, UK
Nov 13, 2014

No mind, or no thought, is giving deliberate thinking a break, the thinking we do to work out things and analyze. There are two aspects to this. One is reducing how often we engage in thinking. The other is stopping it all together, though not permanently of course. From a Zen perspective, thinking breaks the inner peace.

We think a lot, some of us do it almost continuously. A practical tool has turned into an addiction. On top of that, thinking is repetitive, which means a great deal of it is more of the same. And on top of that, lots of our thoughts are negative, since we have a tendency, perhaps natural, to notice what may be dangerous for gus. But because we ponder way more than we need to, we focus on the negative too readily. And given that in modern life there aren't enough naturally dangerous things to focus on, we look for what is just inconvenient, or a nuisance, and worry about those instead. We simply find things to worry about.

Maybe this behavior is not natural, just learned. Or maybe it's both. In any case, we do it. And the more we do it, the more it becomes a habit. We have real thought habits, and many of them are not healthy. Our bodies are constantly working on making us whole, on maintaining harmony. However, when we worry through our thinking, we create anxiety and stress. And we know stress affects our physical health, not just our mental wellbeing. As we follow negative trains of thought, then, we teach ourselves how to feel bad. Thinking too much, especially when we don't need to think at all, we interfere with the body's wisdom.

Cultivating a quite mind also improves the quality of our thinking. To be more precise, by a quiet mind I mean a quieter one. Mind is thought. Once the mind is completely still, we arrive at no mind - no thought. A greater intelligence is accessed, allowed out. The subconscious can more easily communicate the patterns and insights it sees in all the information that comes in, but which is too much for conscious processing. And because we are not telling it to follow unwholesome ideas and frustrations, when we are thinking less on not at all, the body is free to do what it does best - looking after number one!

With less mind, the thinking we do is lighter, easier, unhindered by our own preconceptions. With no mind, a greater, deeper intelligence gently resurfaces. We are alert, open to everything. Awareness and consciousness are reawakened, and they flow uninterrupted as they once did. The infant in us remembers. Joy re-emerges. Wisdom takes over.

The British Wheel of Yoga