We can think we’ve got it, that we know how to manage our lives, that we know all about this stuff, inner contentment and having a contented mind. Then challenges come along that upend it all. We can be left wondering what it was all about and asking ourselves if any of what we learnt is of any use.

Equally we can simply get complacent and old habits creep back in, and we think we don’t need our personal development learnings. You might think it’s there but you don’t really need it right now. Then suddenly it’s not OK at all and work needs to be done but you’re reluctant to get down to it and face the facts, and your mind has got really negative.

It’s easy to revert to old habits. That’s our friend the Ego again, seducing us back into survival mode, comfortable discomfort.

This is where having a spiritual practice is so invaluable.

Using spiritual practice to manage the mind

It’s important to befriend our minds, not make them the source of our ills. Eastern sages were very clear that our mind is our powerhouse, not things to be fought and struggled against. We simply need to steer it in a more effective direction.

Those who meditate, for example, will know well how they need to find ways to manage their mind in order to get the benefit from the meditation. The mind will be there, meditation or no. It’s a part of us. Very often meditators have thought-filled meditations and such thoughts can go in all sorts of less productive directions!

For the benefit of one’s practice, and by extension one’s life in general, one great approach is to let go of attachment to thinking being a problem and to become the witness of one’s mind.

As the witness, we watch our thoughts. Thoughts come and thoughts go, like clouds passing in the sky. They aren’t real, except that we give them a reality, our reality. They are illusory, things we make up. In fact, in a way life is what we make up, and give it shape and character, often influenced, for better or for worse, by others.

If you watch your thoughts, it can be amazing what you invent. It’s like a story.

Letting thoughts go

Therefore, if we create our thoughts, we can also let them go and refocus our attention.

Using the witness, we can catch ourselves thinking what we’re thinking. Then we have a choice. We can investigate the thoughts. We can feel the feelings. And we can let them go, drop them.

Realising one has this power is immensely important.

There’s a whole yoga practice called “vairagya” where one consciously lets go of thoughts and refocuses.

You drop one thought. Another comes along. You drop that one too. Just don’t give it a second thought! Move on.

Using the awareness technique of witnessing, you see it, feel it, and choose to let go.

It’s a practice. We just need to remember to do it!

Being focused on Source

From the perspective of Oneness, all there is, is consciousness, or awareness. Awareness contains thought, not the other way round. What we’re doing with spiritual practice is directing thought back to Source. Thus we contemplate awareness.

By building your awareness of Source, your thoughts become lit up with Its light. You might see it, or not, but you might feel it, love and all.

It’s like we let go of the content of what we’re thinking. It can just chunter away in the background, like a faint background noise. We’re no longer attached to it and making a problem of it. We’re just Being.

So, after reading this, you might give yourself a little time to meditate, chant, sing, pray or whatever works for you, and allow yourself to enter into awareness of Source, and notice it, feel it, enjoy it.

Then, during the rest of your day, continue to hold in some part of you an awareness of Source, knowing you can let go of what does not serve you. Let thoughts be blessed as a part of all That.