You live in your mind. You have lived there since the day you were born. During the first three years of your life you used your senses to take into your mind everything you could in order to create your own world. This is the world you live in. This is the world of your mind, which continues to evolve until you die, and your world ceases to exist.
Such is the life of consciousness. It is born, it creates a world to live in, and then it passes on. Its only connection to the world outside the mind is through the body’s sensory organs. The sensations these organs receive then pass through a filter that defines what has just been sensed. Depending on the strength of your filter, it can keep sensory information from contradicting the world inside your mind. That way your perception of reality is your reality, and not something that’s brought into question.
It is because of this filter that some believe the world in their mind is real. A thought that people live in their own world, a world created by their mind, may never make it through your filter. This is because your filter can make you believe that everyone lives in your world. What you believe to be “right” is right. What you believe to be “wrong” is wrong. “Big,” “small,” “thin,” “large,” “good,” “bad,” “true,” “false;” these are subjective concepts except to those who’s filters defines these concepts as absolute. Instead of something being “right for you,” it is simply seen as “right.”
Those who believe their world is real often have trouble understanding others. In-fact, this belief is one of the primary reasons that the couples I counsel are unable to communicate with each other. Their filter does not allow them to see a perspective other than their own. To truly understand your friend, your partner, your co-worker, or anyone, you have to clean your filter so that you can see from someone-else’s perspective.
Meditation is one of many paths that can help you get out of your mind, or as close to “getting out” as your mind will allow. Most modern meditations seem to be forms of concentration and distraction. Your brain cannot think of two things at one time. Because of this, people often use concentration to control the thoughts in their mind. Some concentrate on music. Some concentrate on their breath. Some concentrate on affirmations, candle flames, or hand gestures. People use all of this, and more, to stop their brain from thinking thoughts, but concentration is not meditation. Meditation is a state of mind without thought.
Your mind without thought is possibly the closest to “reality” that you will get, since true reality is said to exist outside the mind. This is the final step in the eight-fold path of yoga. It is called “Samadhi.” While it is the goal of many yogis to live without thought, those who live in the modern world find themselves lucky if they get five-minutes to themselves. So, while “Samadhi” may not be something you have the time to work toward, learning to control your thoughts, learning to shut them off… even for a few minutes, gives you a glimpse into the world outside your mind. Learn how to be in the present-moment, the moment without thought, where there is no past or future. Learn how to see from someone-else’s perspective, and into someone-else’s world. Try to avoid seeing someone-else’s world as “contradicting” your own. Instead, see both of your worlds as separate, subjective perceptions of the same reality.
To achieve this, begin by finding a form of meditation that uses only a minor amount of concentration. The “Gassho Meditation Technique,” is a great way to train the brain on how to stop thinking. Pranayama (breath control), mantras (voice), mudras (hand gestures), and other techniques can be used as well.
Meditating out of your mind, training your brain on how exist without thought, and finding the present-moment may help you see a world you never knew existed.