In the spiritual tradition I come from, we softly chant the Holy Names of God on our prayer beads, and the entire focus is on hearing the sound. Srila Prabhupada, a revered Bhakti yoga teacher gave a simple tool: Listen to the mantra you are chanting now. There’s no question of mind, he’d say, ‘simply listen’. When you listen to sacred sound, you enter a spiritual space. In other traditions the details may vary but wherever the practise is to ‘listen’ or ‘observe’ or ‘present’, we enter a space beyond the mind; it is here we touch divinity.
Daily examples of living beyond the mind
Once I was searching for my umbrella that I had misplaced. I thought hard and long but was clueless. I gave up, and went about doing other things. Later as I relaxed, suddenly, as if out of nowhere, I knew where I had kept it the previous evening. Sometimes thinking doesn’t work; we need to relax and go beyond thinking.
During one of our monastery meetings, a vexing issue left me clueless and the decision by our ashram authorities disturbed me further. I humbly confessed to my mentor that I was unable to share the same perspective. He suggested I spend the next few days chanting, eating and praying silently and stop worrying about this incident. In just three days, the whole situation became clear to me and it was as if some enlightened realization had descended upon me. Everything about the decision seemed to make sense to me now.
Often when we try to solve a problem, our mind conjures up many alternatives. But if we slow down and even learn to relax, accepting the present in a detached fashion, we’ll be surprised by the clarity we get, even in the midst of the confusion all around. Many writers, musicians and scientists think hard and for long, yet the ‘revelation’ happens later, when they weren’t consciously thinking about it. Mary Shelly, Paul McCartney, Srinivas Ramanujan, Neils Bohr and Albert Einstein besides many others have confessed to accessing areas beyond their conscious awareness.
We deliver our best when we are not trapped by the shackles of our mind; rather it’s the mental freedom that helps us fly and attain great heights. Imagine a cow tied to a pole in a vast farmland, how much area does it have to graze? Likewise compulsive thinking could inhibit us. But if we learn through these small steps, to be in the present, we’ll connect to our real potential.For most people, their potential is inhibited by the mind. When we rise beyond the mind, as Rahul Dravid did in that historic match, we blossom into our true self.