Remember when En Vogue came out with the song “Free Your Mind?” back in the 90’s? If you’ve never heard this song, the lyrics in the chorus are, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.” I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but I knew it felt really good to sing along to.
When I first started on my journey with balancing my body, mind, and spirit, I repeatedly heard wellness practitioners and yoga instructors talk about how we need to ‘let go of our minds’ to achieve inner peace. Another common phrase was, “Quiet your monkey mind so you can hear your inner voice.” I found myself asking, “What does this REALLY mean and how can I do this?” And so, I began my quest to discover the answers.
What is the mind?
Depending on who you ask I’m sure you would receive a variety of different answers.
I have come to understand the mind as a collection of roles we play in this lifetime and then all of the stories that go along with each one of these roles.
For example, I play the roles of daughter, sister, Reiki Master, girlfriend, business owner, teacher, and friend (to name a few!).
These roles are constantly changing and evolving depending on my choice to continue playing them. They are also dependent on whether or not the person on the other side of this role wants to continue playing along too. Therefore, our mind is who we think we are in relation to others. It’s how we define ourselves.
But is this all that you are? A role can come and go in your life at a moment’s notice. You also have a conscious choice as to whether or not you want to continue playing this role. Remember: You always have a choice!
The other piece to defining the mind are the stories we tell about ourselves and our life. These can be stories we have been telling about ourselves for years, or stories we have been telling for days. They can also be stories that others have created about us and then we adopt them as our own. A story stays alive in your mind as long as you keep re-telling it in your mind (and to others).
Remember: You can re-write your story at any time!
Our mind is where many of us get lost. This happens because we let the roles and stories of our life define us. We forget that we are infinite beings connected to Source (a.k.a. God, The Universe, Infinite Love, Spirit).
Now don’t get me wrong, our minds with these roles and stories, are important. They teach us lessons that help us evolve and grow toward Enlightenment. But they are not all you are.
Once we can acknowledge the temporary nature of our minds, and that these roles and stories of our life are temporary to this lifetime, we can start experiencing a deep sense of inner peace. We are no longer separate. Our minds are freed as we begin to transcend our pain and suffering, trusting that there is a greater lesson within these relationships.
Below is a quick 5-minute exercise to begin freeing your mind so you can hear that ‘inner voice.’ For best results, try it out daily!
- Take 3-5 deep Healing Breaths to center yourself.
- Relax your physical body by finding a comfortable meditation posture, or lying down.
- Begin thinking of all the different roles you played today and start letting them go one-by-one. Recognize that you don’t have to be any one of those roles in this moment. You will notice that as you release the roles of your life, the stories of your life start to fall away too!
- Now that you have temporarily let go of your roles and stories ask, “Who am I?” It is from this place that our ‘inner voice’ can communicate with us. If you don’t ‘hear’ anything the first few times, try using ‘I Am’ statements. For example, you can affirm, “I am love.” Pause and see how that feels. Then try another, “I am compassion.” Try as many as you like and notice any feelings or sensations that come through.
I hope this article has helped you begin understanding the nature of your mind and some of the ethereal concepts that often times get thrown around in the yoga and healing communities. These concepts can be powerful, and deeply change our lives, but we have to create our own experience of them by regularly making time to free our minds so that the rest can follow!
How do you identify with your mind? Let’s keep the conversation going by sharing with one another below!