Any Spiritual path interested in transforming the self, shall start with “conquering the mind.”
Because our lives are boxed in a mental cage and we cannot truly increase our capacity for enjoyment in life and fullness when our mind jumps from one place into another. This “normal” phenomena of the modern human being, cancels our feelings, which are of paramount importance to enjoy life.
In reality there is nothing to “conquer,” but the term “conquering” is used to denote that the mind will no longer “run the show” in our lives.
That is a great transformation in itself. When the mind runs in an altered state, or non-stop, it is able to take over and affect our body with stress and anxiety and distort our perception of life.
For example: Do you recall how your last breakfast took place? Let us say that you need to go to work after eating. See how the mind sends a message to “hurry up” not allowing us to fully enjoy our meal, or while we are eating and tasting the food, another thought comes up which does not allow for the full experience of eating, to take place.
The mind is full with pre-conceptions, beliefs, taboos, and judgments and will not allow us to feel a healthy “emptiness,” from all of that. A break of “nothingness.” That emptiness is very important for newness to occur in our lives.
Otherwise, it is the same old thing under a different perspective.
The mind needs to be observed so we can catch how it operates and learn from it. Then, we may increase our capacity for enjoyment and appreciation of life; that is our feelings.
For instance, love to God is what many religions use as a way to overcome the heaviness of the mind by using feelings. However many times those feelings are mixed with fear. When there is fear there is no love and no feelings.
An empty mind is necessary to be able to decorate that empty space with something new. Otherwise we are just adding and crowding the space with additional information.
For example, if someone wants to add “tolerance” in their lives; many will define in their minds what is “tolerance” and will act it out whenever they remember it.
All of that is mental information. Nothing will sink in unless the mind has been emptied from preconceptions and the being is open and accepting to the different scenes which life may bring.
For example, a family may have a dog. The son “thinks” that he loves the dog but doesn’t take care of its needs and does not clean up after that dog. The mother is tired of that dog. The dog senses the environment and becomes adversarial. The mother poisons the dog since getting rid of it through another person will hurt the son’s feelings.
The son is hurt anyway and blames a neighbor for poisoning his dog.
The mother tells a friend about this incident.
What the friend could say?
Whatever the friend says will only show what is in his mind. There are some friends who will side with the mother. Other friends who could find wrong in her actions based on some moral standard. Those are the activities of the mind.
When feelings are operating, a friend could listen and feel. That empathy with someone’s suffering is enough, when there are true feelings of compassion. This is not a “learned” mental action such as giving someone a verbal teaching or making that person feel worse than what she feels.
That openness to feel and accept the role of others does not come from a mental space, but from a heart without self-created mind barriers.
That is more than what tolerance could be. It is called love… and that cannot come from the mind and its concepts, logic and definitions.