Clear your mind.
Just saying the words, can give us a sense of why it’s so important. It’s like we know we need a holiday from our familiar surroundings, but unfortunately wherever we go, we take our mind with us.
We inherently know when our mind is not clear (whether we admit it or not is another thing). How often have you felt stress or anxious because you needed to make a decision about something but couldn’t think clearly?
Too many conflicting thoughts. Emotions pulling you this way and that way. Personal beliefs conflicting with what you actually learn and experience. Fears and insecurities paralyzing you.
Our awareness is constantly being pulled outward into the external world through distractions, and our mind is consumed by never ending thoughts, stories and dramas. As a result, we’re becoming stressed and anxious, we’re losing the ability to focus, while becoming disconnected from our heart and the people we care about.
Great teachers and sages have been telling us for thousands of years why we need to clear our mind – The cause of our suffering is our busy and distracted mind.
Here are five powerful quotes by great spiritual teachers that demonstrate why we need to clear our mind.
Said in different ways, each quote expresses a universal principle.
1. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius
Our ability to think has many advantages, but it does mean that we spend a lot of time thinking about things other than what we’re doing. Which means we’re not present in the moment.
Thoughts, emotions, reactions, limiting beliefs, fears and insecurities, worrying about the future and ruminating about the past creates a complicated web of drama in our mind, in turn creating stress, anxiety and overwhelm. An appropriate expression that fits here is: “Overthinking is the art of creating problems that don’t exist.”
When we learn to quiet the noise in our mind and transform our emotions, there’s a sense of peace that comes as we realize that life is really not as complicated as we make it out to be.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, but when we’re not overthinking and complicating them, there can be a simplicity to how we navigate our challenges.
But it does take practice.
2. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
Instead of a searching for love, Rumi suggests that we should simply find the barriers we’ve built against it. This really speaks to the fabric of love that permeates all things. It’s part of who we are. If we get out of our own way, if we clear our mind, we’ll realize this for ourselves.
The barriers Rumi speaks to are the barriers of our mind – our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and behaviours, and the emotions that fuel them… Creating the complications of life.
Our barriers hold so much power over us when we don’t even realize that they’re there. But when we can recognize, acknowledge, and most importantly, feel these barriers (without judgement), there’s an alchemical process of integration and transformation of our emotions.
Barriers to love become pathways to love when we shine the light of our awareness onto them.
3. “All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.” – Swami Vivekananda
Metaphorically speaking our hands before our eyes are the same as the barriers referred to by Rumi above, that filter our perception of the world.
Yes, the world, and life, can feel dark and overwhelming at times. But that’s when the barriers and complications of our own mind have gotten the better of us, and we’ve become disconnected from our own inner power.
Like love in the quote above, the work on transforming our emotions, beliefs and fears, and clearing our mind, is like the removing of our hands in front of our eyes, to reveal the magnitude of who and what we truly are.
To clear your mind is to remember and reconnect to your own inner resources.
4. “Mind is consciousness that has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.” – Ramana Maharshi
That complicated web of thoughts, emotions and dramas in our mind, the barriers to love and our hands before our eyes are the limitations we’ve put on. We wear them like a restrictive suit.
We’re conditioned to be limited. Since we came into this world we’ve been taught to fit into the world, putting limits on our unlimitedness. I always find it profound and heart opening to observe the innocent wisdom and simplicity that children often express. As a baby and a child our unlimited nature still shines through, but as we grow up we often loose touch with these child-like qualities.
Reconnecting to our inner child, while in our adult life, is a process of reconnecting to our unlimited nature. That doesn’t mean becoming childish – it means connecting to these unlimited child-like qualities that transcend age and limitations.
Ramana Maharshi points to our unlimited nature as who we truly are. A clearing of our mind is a breaking of limitations and a return to the magnitude of our essence.
5. “Sunlight comes into your house not because you want it. It happens because you open the windows.” Sadhguru
I love this quote because it’s so tangible. When we have a moment of opening it can feel very much like the opening we feel when we feel the warmth of the sun touching our skin.
States of joy, love, connection and gratitude are at the essence of who we truly are. The more we get in touch with our emotions, beliefs, fears and thoughts the more obvious it becomes that they are the doorways to our essence. We just have to learn how to open the door.
The next time you feel the sun on your skin, take a moment to feel your body’s deep appreciation for the sun’s warmth. Feel your heart responding… and notice that all you had to do was step out of the shade and allow the sun to touch you.
By finding, acknowledging and feeling the complications, barriers and limitations of our mind, we start this alchemical process that opens the window to our sun inside.
Universal principles of the mind
Opening is an incredible and often mysterious thing. If we follow the wisdom from the previous quotes then we know we’re originally unlimited and powerful, but at some point, we close ourselves off by creating barriers and limits. Over time, these limits become the familiar landscapes we live in. Which in turn, become part of our familiar sense of self.
We become so identified with our limits that we forget our unlimited nature.
So, the process of opening, or letting go, is really a process of undoing the closing.
In the undoing there is a remembering.
Your heart remembers its unlimited nature.
Clearing our mind is a pathway to the heart.
Simple tips to start clearing your mind.
Meditation and mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are powerful practices where we learn to turn our awareness inwards and gently quiet our overactive mind. It’s a bringing our mind to rest. It’s a simplifying. As a result, our mind becomes clear and something of our unlimited nature can start to shine through.
Please check my offerings page to access various options for diving into meditation and mindfulness.
If you’re just getting started take some time to read my previous blog post: Meditation: Setting Yourself Up For Success
Be curious and explore your emotions
Start by simply being curious to understand your emotions. Feel them and identify them.
Give a name to what you feel. If you’re angry, acknowledge that you’re angry and let yourself feel the energy of your anger. Let go of the stories that come with the anger and just be present with it.
Refrain from judging your emotions. Just feel them. This is where the alchemical process starts to happen as you change your relationship to your emotions.
If you do find yourself starting to judge yourself for your emotions, just notice how this creates more complications in your mind, and how that feels. There’s usually a grasping or tension that comes with it.
Having a curious attitude helps.