Blessed are the moments when there is no mental noise. Blessed is awareness that makes such moments possible and makes them the only ones worth striving for. But often we first have to face the mental noise, recognize it, and when we do it again and again, and have completely understood its senselessness, repeatability and destructiveness, this noise may stop.
Strangely enough, we were hardly told in early childhood and then in youth and in adult life that this mental noise is the cause of most tensions and malaise. That it mostly never allows us to shift our perception, and to experience life holistically from moment to moment.
But, if we are able to recognize it, that alone will lead us to the fulfillment, all wise men and women in all cultures have been talking about for centuries and millennia.
Usually we bombard ourselves with the mental noise of others by constantly exposing ourselves to new information on social media, on the radio and on television and through conversation. It is the same with the pure worldly oriented people as well as with the spiritual oriented people and groups on Facebook or Twitter, even if their members would not agree with me. The compulsiveness in the daily posting and reading of the clutter of spiritual quotes is nothing else but the same compulsiveness in the daily reading of newspapers, articles, or in watching TV. We really believe to gain something from it. And there is nothing wrong in informing oneself from time to time, nothing wrong in getting some inspiration.
But as long as our mind is our master, as long as we have not harvested the fruits of awareness in our life, our compulsive preoccupation with information gathering is simply an expression that the mind cannot keep still. It simply always needs to read, watch, listen to something, liking every possible stupid post on Facebook, Twitter, discussing, agreeing, disagreeing…
The mind just don’t keep still.
The main thing is, that it has to stay in constant movement and agitation. That kind of compulsive preoccupation with information is therefore nothing more than bad habit, addiction.
Furthermore it is running away from the restlessness that grips us when we are not busy with something, not feeding ourselves, not taking in in order to stuff the seemingly frightening emptiness that is created in moments of silence and “no mind”. The only moments in which the true sanity can arise.
So the first thing is to recognize that our thirst for information and the jumping from newspaper to Facebook, from Facebook to movie, from movie to music, from music to books, from books to talking to others – is an escape from ourselves.
No matter how nicely we pack it and explain how important it is to be informed, to share with others, to educate yourself, etc. The first step is to recognize that around 90% of our information activity is not based on natural or educational needs, but on bad habits to escape from the now and from life in reality, because we rather choose to pollute the brain with tones of mostly banal and absurd information, films, pictures etc.
After this has been recognized as the main source for the fact that we almost never stay in our being, almost never are connected to the flow of life, we begin to evade it more and more. We can see that this complete preoccupation has a resemblance to a nervous tic, and that the promising content hardly gives us anything lasting, except for the need for new impulses, new kicks, new quotes, new stories, new noise.
That is why, if we really seriously and deeply want to deal with the awareness-work, we have to recognize these escape attempts at some point and start to evade them. It is not about (as many have assumed and practiced in ancient times) to leave the family and the world and go somewhere in the woods. It is about recognizing how we spend almost all of our energy in our spare time, absorbing information, and living almost exclusively in the world of ideas, concepts, assumptions and impulses.
Up to a certain point in time we cannot avoid living this way, because it is a deeply rooted habit as well as culturally recognized way of life. But in the end, if we don’t manage to leave the noise, the true awareness-work cannot even begin, because this work demands an incredible amount of energy from us, which is not there, after which we have pumped our minds up again. That’s the fact for me, take it or leave it.
And it does not end with the withdrawal of excessive external noise. If we do not expose ourselves to the mental noise of others for a short while, we usually start to listen to our own mental noise. The almost continuous comments and monologues that take place in our head. And we give these monologues and comments so much meaning and time, that it is no wonder that we have little energy to be conscious, to be present, to be receptive, sensitive to life in its totality.
Here too, hardly anyone in the earlier upbringing phase told us how ridiculous, repetitive and meaningless, most of our inside monologues are. And so we listen to it as if it had a lot of important, insightful, enticing to say.
After the voluntary withdrawal from the external full pumping with information has taken place, one also realizes the constant talk and chatter in one’s own head. And as with the external noise, it becomes clear to us over time, how little advantage the internal noise gives us and how much energy it robs.
These are important findings on the way of self-observation. Findings that pave the way to true presence and awareness.
Many people believe that mindfulness, being present means that we look at the objects around us. Or that we imagine the unity with all things. Or that we think about being present, being sensitive. They wrongly believe that staring at the tree or a butterfly is the same as being anchored in the now. That is not the case at all.
Above all, being fully in the moment means being present and conscious without the constant inner monologue. And the monologue usually only disappears when we truly recognize and internalize its senselessness, uselessness.
The escape from ourselves will never lead us to conscious living and to living in the present moment. The body may be in the now, but we are in our minds. We are busy recording and anticipating thousands of mostly insignificant information. Because of this we cannot be present, we cannot be truly aware.
So again – listening to the mental noise, both to oneself and to others, blocks access to the now, and robs us of almost all the energy that makes it possible to experience life and the present moment consciously.
Anyone who recognizes this fact, and can unmask the insane mind, that previously seemed to completely dominate us, has taken a big step on the path to inner peace, serenity and fulfillment.
This is the turning point where we – from the slaves of the mind – become its master.