Out Of My Mind

Can you be free of your mind whenever you want?

“I’m depressed!”

“I’m stressed out!”

“I’m upset!”

Sound familiar?

Let’s step back for a moment and ask a simple question:

Who is the I? 

People have pondered this question for thousands of years. “I” is usually assumed to be a product of thought, but this is wrong. We don’t have to think to be aware. 

Our true nature, absent of thought, is sometimes referred to as pure “Being.” 

The earliest documentation of the discipline of practicing no-thought consciousness comes from India, dating back to 1500 BCE. I became aware of the practice while studying Eastern philosophy twenty years ago. 

It was hard to imagine the purpose or benefit of practicing not thinking. Why have such practices persisted for so long across so many cultures? 

I decided to find out for myself.

My brother Paul, a Presbyterian Minister, was familiar with my quest. For my 47th birthday, he gifted me the book, “Teach Yourself To Meditate In 10 Simple Lessons.” By Eric Harrison. 

I was skeptical. The book’s title was off-putting. “Teach yourself to (fill in the blank) in (fill in the blank) easy lessons” is not the kind of reading that appeals to me.  

Nevertheless, I gave the book a chance. 

It marked the beginning of a new journey. 

To experience pure “Being,” one must first quiet the mind. 

Most of us don’t have much experience with this because our waking hours are consumed with thought. It takes considerable practice to learn to let go of thinking. In fact, it’s such a strange thing that many people who try simply give up. 

But I had an advantage!

Our oldest son Daniel was born with Spina Bifida, which required dozens of lengthy hospitalizations. Back in the mid-90s, MJ made a discovery that was not widely known in the medical community. Daniel was severely allergic to latex.

You might wonder what this has to do with letting go of thought and pursuing pure “Being?”

At the time, latex products were ubiquitous in hospitals. This meant Dan had to be placed in isolation. On one extended hospital stay, Dan was put in an isolation room with no windows. The lighting in the room was kept low because he needed rest. 

MJ and I took turns watching over him in eight-hour shifts.

What does one do in a dark room for eight hours before the invention of iPhones, Ipads, and laptop computers?

The answer? 

I sat and thought,…and thought,….and thought. Finally, I became exhausted and simply sat, witnessing what fate had brought us. 

Hours passed.

Over time, I discovered that quietly sitting, absent of thought was strangely therapeutic. Dan’s condition was concerning, but I could do nothing about it. Letting go of thoughts released a heavy burden, allowing me to be present. 

During my early attempts to meditate, I followed all the recommended steps from the book my brother gave me, including retreating to a dark, quiet room, assuming the lotus position (kind of), softly closing my eyes, and reciting a mantra. I didn’t connect any of this to my earlier hosipital experience. 

I didn’t get meditation. Nothing seemed to work! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking. 

After many weeks of practice, one day I finally gave up. I let go of my mantra and stopped trying to do anything except quietly sit in peace. 

Something from my hospital isolation experience must have kicked in on that day because when I stopped trying to meditate, I “dropped in” to no-thought consciousness.

I’ve been practicing meditation now for twenty years. Letting go of thought has become as natural as breathing. It no longer requires a quiet room, a lotus position, or a mantra. I wish I knew how to teach meditation because the practice has changed my life.

Here are some examples:

I was paralyzed with fear the night before my quadruple bypass surgery. So I simply “dropped in.” Peace ensued. 

Earlier this year, Dan had a hemorrhagic stroke. Anxiety and fear consumed me. While waiting by Dan’s hospital bed for the doctor’s prognosis, I simply “dropped in.” Equanimity returned.

Traffic pisses me off. While stuck in traffic, I sometimes practice “dropping in,” even if only for a few moments. Amazingly, I feel my blood pressure fall.

There is so much suffering in the world. Anxiety and depression disorders are skyrocketing. 

I ultimately discovered that the bliss of pure “Being” is indigenous, meaning it is not something we need to acquire; instead it is found by simply letting go. 

Pure “Being” is a peaceful union with existence absent of worry and stress. It’s always present, but the mind must be quiet to experience it.  

Meditation has many therapeutic benefits and some practical ones as well!

Now when people tell me I’m out of my mind, I say, 

“Thank you, I’ve been working on it!”


If you are interested in learning more about my meditation practice, please click here

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Previous posts may be found here and here.

4 Replies to “Out Of My Mind”

  1. Love it—– People have also told me that I have been out of my mind MOST OF MY LIFE !!!!

    No wonder we are such good friends !!!!


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