Mindfulness meditations show that the mind moves, just like the body. Rodolfo Llinas, a neuroscientist and author of I of the Vortex: from Neurons to Self offers a framework that helps make sense of this movement (2002). Llinas proposes thatmind is a kind of glorified movement system that has evolved to assist a multicellular organism with motricity (evasive action).
The mind—for all intents and purposes—is the body, and thinking is action.
The gerundive word “being” says it all: life is motion; it’s always in process, always in formation. Not coincidentally, the word “emotion,” for example, is related to the word “motion.” Indeed, we experience emotions as some kind of inner motion: first, you feel one way; then, all of a sudden, you are moved in another affective direction.
The same goes for urges and impulses. Words themselves tell the story: impulse—from Latin impulses, meaning “push, shock, pressure;” urge—from Latin urgere, which means “to press hard”. The mind streams, presses, pushes, shoves, acts out. Ever restless it keeps you up night and day.
Notice the active tone in the advice of Swami Vivekananda:
“Hold the idea [that] ‘I am watching my mind act,’ and each day the identification of yourself with thought and feeling will grow less” (1993, 59).
You are not your mind act, you are not what your mind does, you are not your mind’s movement, you are that changeless, motionless backdrop that allows you to observe all this internal com-motion.
You are not your outer behavior. You are not your inner behavior. You are not an act—physiological or mental. You, my fellow modern-day ape, are not your monkey-mind but the jungle of conscious awareness that this “monkey-mind” inhabits.
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