How Do I Quiet My Mind?
By Lester Levenson
The prime purpose of releasing is to quiet the mind. When you release, the thoughts drop away. Thoughts of the day, what he did to me, what she did, what I should have done, etc., all these thoughts are active on a subconscious level. As we release, these subconscious thoughts quiet; they become still and that quiets the mind.
Now, the most important thing in quieting the mind is interest. When you are very interested in something, you’ll override all other thoughts. Likewise, if, with intense interest, you want to know: What am I? What is this world? What is my relationship to it? If there’s a real burning desire to get the answer, then all other thoughts drop away and the mind becomes extremely concentrated. Then the answer shows itself. It comes from within. The answer is there all the time. The quieting of the thoughts allows us to see it, to see the answer that was there all the time, there in the realm of Knowingness, the Self. The starting point should be a strong desire for the answer. When that desire is strong we get the answer. That’s why man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. Extreme adversity causes in us a desire to get out of it with such intensity that we concentrate our mind and discover the answer.
When I started my quest I thought “thinking” would give me the answers. I had a mind that was as active as any mind could be. But I was at the end of the line. I had had a second heart at- tack and they told me I was finished, that I had only a short time to live, and so I had to have the answers. And even though my mind was far more active than the great majority of minds, the intensity of the desire for the answers caused me to hold to one question at a time, obliterating all else. This concentration did it!
I started seeking with no knowledge of metaphysics, no knowledge of the way. In fact I was anti all religion and all metaphysics; I thought it was non- sense, for the weak-minded, for people who believed in fairy tales.
But it was only because of the intensity of the desire to get the answers, I had to have the answers, that they began to come, and they came relatively quickly. Over a period of three month’s time I went from an extreme materialist to the opposite extreme: the material is nothingness and the spiritual is the All. The wish to get the answer was so strong, that in spite of my mind being one of the noisiest of minds, the answers began to come. I automatically fell into things (I knew no words for them) like samadhi. I would concentrate on a question with such intensity that I would lose awareness of the world, lose awareness of this body, and then I would be aware of just a pure thought, the thought itself would be the only thing existing in this universe. That’s absorption when the thinker and the thought become one. One loses consciousness of everything but that one thought. That’s a very concentrated state of mind and the answer is always discovered right there.
I started with “What is happiness? What is life? What do I want? How do I get happiness?” I discovered that happiness depended upon my capacity to love. At first I thought it was in being loved. I reviewed my life and saw that I was very much loved by my family and friends and yet I was not happy. I saw that was not it. Continuing, I realized that it was my capacity to love that gave me happiness.
The next question was “What is intelligence?” I persisted until Ah! I saw it! There is only one intelligence in the universe and we all have a direct line to it. Then I worked on responsibility and discovered that I was responsible for everything that happens or happened to me. Creation was something I created!
Finally, I held the question “What am I?” until the answer presented itself. And this went on and in a matter of three month’s time I believe I saw the entire picture, went all the way, only because of the concentrated approach. I knew nothing about the subject; I knew nothing about the direction, the way, the path, but I wanted to know: “What am I? What is this world? What’s my relationship to it? ”
You discover that the whole world is nothing but you, that there never was anything but you all along, because there’s only One and you are It! But that isn’t the final state. You come out of it and there’s still a certain amount of mind left. So you continue to release until there is no more mind controlling you. When you’ve eliminated all the habits of thought, all the tendencies of mind, you are free; then you can use your mind and you are the master and director of it. It no longer determines you, you determine it.
At present we are over 90% of the time controlled by the unconscious mind.
Q: That’s the conscious and unconscious mind both?
Lester: Well, the conscious mind is easily controlled. The subconscious is not because it is not easily seen. It’s a mechanism we set up of not looking at our thoughts. of making them operate automatically. We did it to our entire body; it’s all automatic now. And then we did it to all thoughts but the thought we’re interested in at the moment.
Q: Why is it that we did it to all thoughts, except the one we’re interested in at the moment?
Lester: Because we don’t want the thoughts in the first place, so we push them away to the background. Sometimes, when you work with your hands, you’re very happy, right? Why? The thoughts are quiet.
Q: Then your mind is quieted at that time, or is it operating on the subconscious level?
Lester: Well, consciously and even subconsciously it’s quieter. We really don’t want thoughts. Thoughts are the things that make us unhappy; even the happy thoughts make us unhappy because while we are enjoying something, we’re concerned about the possibility of maintaining this pleasure which we know is not going to last. The thought of the pleasure at the same time evokes the thought that it’s not going to last. Even thoughts of happiness are limited. The really happy state is the no-thought state; it’s the state of Knowingness and is beyond thought. Meditation does seem to be a question in many people’s minds who have meditated for years and years. However, releasing is more effective than meditation.
Q: There isn’t any progress when you’re just quiet?
Lester: There is in that you’re moving toward the quiet state. And the quiet state is a better state than the noisy state. In that sense it’s a step forward. But the only problem we have now is called ignorance. We’re ignorant of the fact that we are infinite. To get rid of ignorance we need the Knowledge of our infinity. To get the Knowledge we have to inquire. So when we go into peace and just get quiet, that’s good, but don’t stop there, then get the answers. It’s necessary to get quiet to get the answers. Only the answer to “What am I?” gets us to the top. That is easy to see, isn’t it? So if we want to take the quickest way, we start with the question that we finally have to answer: “What am I?” However, most people are not able to hold the question, What am I? For most people, releasing is the most effective method of quieting the mind.
Q: You know I think you had it easier because you didn’t have a lot of preconceived ideas.
Lester: You’re right. I was very lucky that I knew nothing because intellectual knowledge about the subject is an obstacle. The ego substitutes the intellectual knowledge for the real experiencing of it. I was very, very fortunate not to have had any knowledge of it.
Q: You also didn’t realize that it’s as difficult as most people think it is.
Lester: Yes. However, knowing what you’re telling me helps one let go of that obstacle of intellectual knowledge. I prod you in this direction, don’t I? I say: “Don’t believe anything. Start from scratch. Build up your knowledge on the solid foundation of proof, step by step.” Everyone must do this.
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