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"Mind. (noun.) a beautiful servant, a dangerous master." - Osho

The mind is either your friend or your worst enemy.  You either are aware of what it is doing to shape your life, or you are left feeling victimized by its every little whim.  The mind is either taking you closer to joy and fulfillment or towards sustained pain and suffering.  Pause and reflect for a moment, do you know which is true for you? 

"If my mind creates my reality I need to understand and train my mind to get the results I want." unknown

To become brighter, lighter and freer, you must know how your mind works; how it influences and shapes your life.  Leaning into the mind is neither casual nor an ordinary process.  It takes an impressive amount of desire to make the mind your friend.  Pause and reflect again and ask yourself, do you have the deep driving desire to know your mind?  If you answer with an emphatic YES, call yourself a "striver" because you care deeply about the very thing that will make this life the best it can be.

"You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind."  Joyce Meyer

The next phase is coming to terms with the mind's job “to be continuously on the move.”  This is both a fact and the foundation of where you begin.  The mind is always looking to be busy, which makes you feel distracted, unfocused, confused and stressed.  Seeded with the core desire to know your mind, you endeavor to tame it by giving it a point of concentration.  This is the basis of meditation.  When you pick an object, like the eyebrow center, you awaken to the “doing” of your mind.  You hear the thousands of thoughts and see the visual experiences in the mind that color the feelings of the body and your unique view of the external world. 

"To keep the body in good health is a duty.  Otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." Buddha

It’s not enough to just let the aimless mind be the default setting.  Afterall this is exactly the issue that needs addressing.  So, you take matters into your own hands by using the body to understand the busy mind.  By getting ample rest, eating right, exercising consistently, deepening the breath, and elongating the muscle tissue, you give your inner body a vitality that supports the mind.   Pause and reflect on one small thing you could add or subtract, before this year is concluded that will help improve the health of your body.

"Breath is the link between mind and body." Dan Brule
"Breath is the king of mind." B.K.S. Iyengar

Eventually, the exploration of the body leads to the need to become more skillful.  Diving deeper, you access the subtle aspects of the body.  This is where you shift from surviving to thriving.  You desire to be still and are excited to use the breath to create the bridge to a more clear, calm and tranquil mind.  This makes you a master of your nervous system and gives you a sustained feeling of peace.   When you come back to your object of meditation, it's just a little easier each time to be with the busy mind.

"Witnessing contains the whole of spirituality. Witness that you are not the body. Witness that you are not the mind. Witness that you are only a witness. As the witnessing deepens, you start becoming drunk with the divine. That is what is called ecstasy."  - Rajneesh

The more you engage in this process of using the body to connect with the mind, something remarkable happens.  You being to notice as you are sitting with a still body in meditation, you can be aware of you, and the process of concentrating on the object, and aware of awareness itself.  This is made possible by the minds innate ability to reflect upon itself.  Each meditation practice helps grow the witness, the side of you that sees, void of color or judgment.  The witness shows you that you can observe life from a neutral vantage.  The witness is the steady and calm eye of the hurricane.  The presence of the witness allows you to know and see your mind.  This dramatic shift allows your senses to experience the external world while the witness remains your trusty guide. 

"A quiet mind can hear intuition over fear." (unknown)

As you continue to meditate consistently, the witness guides you closer to your inner voice of reason or what is often called intuition.  Your "dhi" (pronounced dee) as it is known in Sanskrit, tells you to discard useless thinking and examine meaningful insights.  Where the mind was once scattered, it now retains a sense of calm.  Your discernment for what is right and best becomes easier to see and feel in your gut.  This insight gives you the power to dig deeper into the pool of inner wisdom.  Your mind is not just used for intellectual endeavors, but becomes a force to connect with the higher mind andwith your source - the Divine which helps you "to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield." (Tennyson) 

With love, JOE