Thought Bite: Reading Your Own Mind

A message from 2014 that I felt is a good reminder and bears repeating.

Every move we make is controlled by our mind, except for random muscle twitches. This is why, in Yoga, it is said that first the mind moves, then the body moves.

This simple fact has profound ramifications. It means that our thoughts and beliefs are reflected in our body. It means that the body only holds a certain posture when the mind commands it to do so. So, in effect, the mind is holding the posture.

Let me explain a little more. 

Emotions exist in our mind. We feel them in our body, and they are represented in our posture.

Here's a guided experience to help understand what I'm talking about.

First, let's relax. To do so, sit on the front edge of your chair-seat so that your feet are flat on the floor, torso erect but not stiff, and hands on your thighs. As much as possible, let your attention be inward, to remain aware of your internal experience.

Let your breath be smooth and maintain moment-to-moment awareness of the sensation of your breathing as you go through the following steps.

Bring your attention to your head and relax the muscles in your forehead, face and jaw. 

Move your attention to your neck, and relax your throat, and the sides and back of your neck.

Continue breathing smoothly with awareness.

Become aware of your shoulders and let them relax. No reason to hold them up. Let them go.

Relax your upper arms, forearms, hands and fingers.

Moving your awareness slowly, relax from fingers to shoulders.

Be aware of the sensation of your breathing.

Relax your chest and belly.

Relax your thighs, lower legs, feet and toes.

Relax from toes to head, moving your awareness up your body. 

Be aware of your whole body and let it relax more with each exhalation, yet let your torso stay erect.

Be aware of what your body feels like at this moment for a few breaths.

Now, bring your awareness to your mind, and remember a time or place when you felt afraid. Mentally step into that memory, and, as you remember this fearful time or place, allow your body to change if it wants to and notice what happens in your body and your breath. Does your posture change? Does your breath change? Notice as specifically as you can what changes occur as you remain aware of the fearful experience.

Now, let go of the fearful memory. Bring your awareness back to the sensation of your flowing breath and allow your body to relax again.

Notice if your posture and breathing change again, and in what ways they do so.

Now, once again, bring your awareness to your mind and remember a time or place when you felt extremely happy and safe. Mentally step into that memory and notice what happens with your posture and breath for several breaths.

After taking note of any changes, return your awareness to the moment-by-moment sensation of the flow of your breath and re-relax your body (if there is any tension).

Let your mind and body now return to your normal waking awareness. We're done with the experiment.

This little experience has the potential to give you valuable information on how your body reflects your mental state. You are welcome to do it again on your own, remembering other emotions, and observing what happens in your body.

In this way, by being aware of your posture, you can come to recognize emotional states in your mind that you might have previously been unaware of, but that nevertheless affect your experience of life.

If you don't know you're in the grips of an emotion, you're the slave of that emotion. Once you notice the presence of an emotion, you have an opportunity to work with it, to purify and transform it.

But the first step is to become aware of your own emotions.

One time, someone asked Swami Veda Bharati whether meditating helps read minds. Swami Veda Bharati responded, "yes, beginning with your own." 

As you practice awareness of your own mind, emotions, and posture, you begin to read your own mind.

This is a valuable skill. 

If you'd like to know more on this subject, I'd be happy to talk with you.


19 Dec 2021;
07:00PM - 08:00PM
Full Moon Meditation 2020