What Is the Mind

How the mind works

The human mind is a powerful tool for accomplishing your purposes, whatever they are. It can beautifully support your high purposes, but when your aim is lower, the mind goes into low places, like bad memories, negative thought patterns, wrong conclusions, hang-ups, insecurities, and fears. So, when you ask, “What is my purpose in life?” choose wisely. For bright thoughts, put your mind on your heart’s true purposes. Heart and mind together is the winning team.

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Your Mind, your Servant

Your mind is the servant of your will. Whatever your will may be, your mind will work to help you achieve it. So, if your will is to get out of a burning building, your mind will focus on finding a way out.

Likewise, if your purpose is to build a beautiful relationship, the mind will generate all kinds of loving ideas to make the beloved happy, and work to eliminate everything that stands in the way of a loving and trusting relationship. But if your orientation is selfish, then when you fall in love, the mind will focus on how you can get what you want in that relationship, and in a fearful spirit, warn you of all the possible ways you could get hurt.

In much of our thinking, we’re trying to figure out how to get what we want or avoid what we fear. But that backfires. When we use our minds for self-survival and personal advantage, mulling things over and creating defenses and offenses, we progressively develop hang-ups, fears, insecurities, reactive patterns, and off-putting social strategies. Gradually, the mind becomes a very polluted pool. It accumulates negative memories (“I used to want love, but I’ve been hurt too many times”), faulty associations (“All women are selfish—you can’t trust them”), and suppressive social programming (“I’d give him a flower, but girls don’t give boys flowers!”).

Because of this process, the usual mind becomes a closed system full of negative presumptions that get in the way of your heart’s impulses. You want to go to a party, but you’re too shy. You want to call someone, but you fear rejection. You yearn for the freedom to live and love, but you’re bound by your fears and negative convictions.

There’s a better way to think. It is not based upon fear. It’s not any kind of inner defense mechanism. It’s not the recycling of the accumulated hodge-podge of fears and confusions of a lifetime. It is to gently turn the mind, for advice and counsel, to the heart, and its great purposes.

Together, mind and heart make a wonderful team. The heart is sensitive. It feels the value of beauty; the mind works to bring it out. The heart of an architect recognizes the beauty of a certain hillside. His mind gets to work designing a house for that spot, while the heart directs it, saying, “Yes! This is beautiful. No, this is ugly.” The same with all the impulses that arise in relationship and in life. The mind presents an idea, like to offer a compliment, or a critical word. The heart feels it: Yes. No. Yes. No.

The mind can be a most useful tool when submitted to the heart—its “yes, no.” Without good direction it tends to be dangerously random, but when steered by the sensibilities of heart, it helps us create beauty, solve problems, find solutions, and live happy, fruitful lives.


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