I believe that one of the ideas, or modes of thinking, that often stops us from spiritual peace is the categorization of good and bad. “I had a bad day” “That was a bad experience” “A bad relationship” “A bad place”…
Because we are ascribing energy to an experience. What is, in essence, truly neutral, becomes charged with our ideas, our emotion, our meaning. This is the beginning of the illusion of “karma”: the attachment to a moment, a place, or event, so much so, that that moment, that trauma, or that experience, rules us across space and time. It becomes charged with energy, so powerful it can make us think we are separate from God.
The egoic mind attempts to categorize, organize, put life into patterns. It attempts to understand phenomenon it was never built to understand. It creates internal narratives of who we are, what we have been through, and what is yet to come. In truth, life is simple, it is only our minds that try and tell us otherwise, and we are the only ones that decide what is yet to come.
I used to think that detaching from emotion and mind meant that I would feel nothing. I imagined a senseless, thoughtless, entirely unattached state of being. I imagined the Buddha never having thoughts, or conflict of emotion. Over time, I’ve become to realize that this is not true. As long as we’re in this dimension having a human experience, we will have thoughts, reactions, and even judgments. True mastery isn’t having an empty mind, it’s letting go of those reactions as they come. It’s not identifying with temporary phenomena, it’s letting them fly like the wind.
In Hindu iconography, many of the Gods and Goddesses are pictured atop wild beasts. For example, Durga can be seen riding a tiger, and Shiva rides atop his bull. What these animals symbolize is the wild and uncontrollable parts of our mind. When we practice self mastery, we ride atop the tiger like Durga. Like we cannot master our emotions, the tiger rides us. The same symbolism can be seen in the Major Arcana of the Rider Waite Tarot, Number 8, Strength, where a woman fearlessly holds the mouth of a lion.
At the same time, there may always be a part of the “monkey” mind, the wild beast, the ego within, that is triggered, reacts, judges, or attempts to categorize. This is natural, and in fact, it is natural we will have times we cannot master! After all, we are human, and part of our experience is making mistakes. Sometimes, we’re not ready to let go, and that’s okay.
The ego, “the beast”, the “monkey” mind rules you just as strongly if you are trying to force it into submission, forcing yourself forward, forcing yourself to let go. It is like forcing a storm out of the sky.
Surrender – surrender to your experience, love your experience, even if it’s not what you think you should be having. Love it, honor it, as all aspects of the divine. When you are terrified, when you are smiling, when you are triggered, when you are dancing, all these expressions of you are utterly divine.