Are you thinking or being THUNK? Silly question or eternal truth? According to Sandy Newbigging, my guest on It’s All About Relationships, it is our relationship with our minds that can be healthy or toxic.
Sandy Newbigging is the creator of the Mind Detox Method, a meditation teacher and author of several books including THUNK! How To Think Less For Serenity and Success, New Beginnings, and Heal The Cause. Yoga Magazine recently described him as being “one of the best meditation teachers around”. He runs courses and residential retreats internationally and trains Mind Detox Practitioners via his Academy. In 2012 he received the Federation of Holistic Therapists Tutor of the Year Award.
He declares: “The age of the guru is over.” Finding the inner guru (teacher) is preferable.” Movement in the body brings movement in the mind. Focus less on getting rid of the thoughts and learn how to befriend mind, self and emotions. Paradoxically it brings stillness. Meditation is dynamic and ever changing. It is helpful to tap into our conscious awareness in the here and now as taught by spiritual teachers such as Ram Dass and Eckhart Tolle. Sandy expresses that putting our moment to moment perception on whatever we are doing, whether it is household tasks or career activities can bring our desired peace. I discover that when I mindfully do the dishes for example, feeling the soapy water and see them become squeaky clean, I am less likely to feel as if my mind is like a sink overflowing with dirty pots, pans and utensils with stuck on food coating them.
Meditation is not what you think. You need not be sitting cross legged on a zafu in a serene monastery in order to be ‘doing it right’. In fact, my take on it is that if you are not able to meditate in the midst of a crowd then it really isn’t working.
“Meditation is a state of being that we already are. Learning how to rest back into what you are, when you are not trying to be something else. It is a must if someone wants to know themselves in this lifetime.”
One of the myths Sandy shared is that if you try to do so without guidance, you feel you are doing it wrong. He is “wanting to make it more mainstream, fun and enjoyable.”
He spoke about Harvard research, that indicates that people can spend up to 47% of their day lost in thought. He differentiates between thought and thinking. When we are ‘thinking’ we can get lost. At one point in his life he spent 16 hours a day immersed in meditation. Sandy observes that the present moment is ‘the holy grail’ of spiritual development. The reason we have a mind and thoughts and emotions is because we are aware of them. This part of the conversation felt as if it looped around and seemed like a zen koan. Even when we are thinking about the past or the future, we are doing it in the present moment.
Sandy deals with the human emotions that naturally arise within him by moving his attention away from thoughts and emotions and “rest back into that permanent part of yourself that is changeless.” Where I put my attention, matters massively,” Attention on inner presence of stillness is a key.
He began meditating in his 20’s after having the worldly success that nearly anyone could desire, including career, relationship, money and material goods. He based his sense of success on achievement and it began to ring hollow. “There must be more than this.” He was introduced to meditation, avoided it for a while since he had bought into the myths and then the bottom fell out and he dove into it with his whole heart and soul and as he added “I haven’t stopped since.”
His is a less rigorous form that allows for the possibility that sleep could occur. That was a relief for me. Laughing, he shared “You eventually wake up.” Let whatever happens, happen and suspend judgment.” We can observe it all until the Commentator engages in what he calls The Judgment Game in which the mind compartmentalizes things. We put our experiences into good-bad boxes. It is that resistance that hornswoggles us.
He uses the silly sounding term GAAWO- Gently Alert Attention Wide Open to describe a technique with which you gaze at an object, opening attention open up left, right, up and down; with the benefit that the mind becomes quiet. I noticed immediately a change occurring in my ever chattering mind that ‘thunks me’ far too often.
In his book. Heal The Cause, he expresses that “The body can self heal when it is given the chance to do so. Although it may feel like the body is against you, it is not true. The body is adapting in order to survive.” The mind and body are not distinct entities, but our thoughts impact the body. If this physical condition was an emotion what would it be? What was happening prior to the onset of the condition?” are questions that are asked.
All that we are and all that we need is within us. “We run around looking for a diamond necklace that is already hanging around our necks.”-Rumi
Listen in to our conversation and be at peace~