Another July 4th has rolled by, where our country celebrates independence from the tyrannical yoke of the British Empire. Yet for many people, a struggle for inner freedom goes on because their experience is one of bondage and enslavement by the tyranny of their mind.
Listening to and believing the voices of the mind causes one to feel isolated and often leads to feelings of loneliness and for some, depression and despair. It’s as though you are looking out through a window at all the normal, happy, successful people — on the other side, there’s you.
The quote by Marcus Garvey, made popular by Bob Marley speaks to the issue; “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”
Tragically, the result of this mental slavery is that, in the US; one in six people are on some psychiatric medication, mostly antidepressants, the suicide rate is more than double the homicide rate and the prescription opioid crisis is considered to be the worst addiction epidemic in American history.
It is common to believe that, “I wouldn’t feel so bad if; I had more money or I was more popular or if I wasn’t so weird or I had the right partner or the right job”, what ever one believes they lack. But how often do we read about rich, famous, successful people committing suicide? So while it is fine to work to make our life better, the ‘outer’ worldly fixes don’t solve the inner problem of mental slavery — those voices come back, sooner or later.
For many people, even after years of spiritual practice, empowerments and maybe therapy, the negative mind talk can rise up. So finally, it is true self realization that is the way out of that mess. Not by magic, however, but by seeing directly that thoughts are about as real as a mirage in the desert, and what is real, whole and free is our own consciousness.
So then, you notice the repeating mental voice or voices, and you say; ‘wait a minute, I’m telling myself that old story again…’ And in the moment of being conscious and catching this, the story stops (for a moment) and we are just here. Take a breath. Feel the calm of the force of life itself. This is our own silent center. Then we can see that the inner voice is only a persistent illusion, a deeply conditioned figment of the imagination. And like pigeons in the park, if you don’t feed them (with belief) they will eventually go look for food elsewhere.