Watching the Mind Frees the Heart

We may not be able to pick and choose which thoughts pop up in our head, but with practice we can develop the skill that allows us to pick the ones to follow that frees our heart.

We can’t choose what thoughts pop into our head, but we can choose which thoughts to follow. To me there are two main categories of thought, the ones that are of sensual desires, ill will, and cruelty, and the ones that are of quietness, love, and compassion. When most thoughts in the sensual desire category arise, it leads to harm to oneself and others. These are the ones that arise as craving, addiction, and the like, and when they do, it takes away one’s freedom. Thoughts of cruelty, harm oneself and others by blocking love, compassion, and freedom which are the cause of most difficulties in life. If a practice isn’t in place that allows this to be seen, the ever so subtle thoughts of sense pleasure will rule as one won’t have the discipline not to give in to them.

Watching one’s thoughts and deciphering which category they’re in is a skill that has to be developed. It doesn’t happen by just sitting, and it definitely doesn’t happen on its own. Watch the mind to free the heart, that’s really what it comes down to. This watching of thoughts is what I’ve developed through meditation practice, but it has taken many years for this skill to be developed. Most people don’t put in the time to allow for this to occur, but it’s no different than practicing any other skill. Few people are born with the skills they possess later on in life, the raw skill is probably already in place, but if it’s not cultivated it will most likely not become skill that can be used. Look around to see this for yourself, anyone who is skilled at something has put much practice into it. It may seem natural, but there’s a lot of preparation that goes into enhancing any skill. Everyone becomes what they practice, so if life isn’t working for you the skills that allow it need to be developed and I have found the skill of watching the mind allows life to work for me as it frees up my heart. 

Michael Cupo
I grew up in Newark, New Jersey, one of six children. I have been married for 25 years. I own a home, and I have two children. I have been at the same job for 28 years. I am the happiest I have ever been and it is all because of the Love that has always been in my life. I attribute all that has happened to me to that Love. None of what has transpired in the last five years of my life has anything to do with any accomplishments on my part. There was always a lot of love in our home as I grew up, but for reasons unknown to me at the time I was always in trouble. I was at the top of my brother-in-law’s “Who My Sister Shouldn’t Marry” list. I drank alcoholically, gambled, abused drugs and painkillers. I bounced from relationship to relationship. Even after I stopped abusing alcohol and drugs in 1987, my so-called outer troubles stopped, but my self-centered behavior never changed. All I did was substitute one compulsion for another. Although my addiction became more respectable—taking the form of material possessions—I was still trapped, migrating restlessly from one obsession to another. I went to Twelve Step meetings, derived some benefit from them, and then fell away. My loved ones got me into de-tox and rehab programs. But once I was released, the cycle of insatiable craving started all over again. This cycle seemed to work for me . . . until it didn’t. And then my life changed — not instantly or magically, but profoundly. I share this change in It’s Monday Only in Your Mind: You Are Not Your Thoughts. I discovered that I wasn’t dependent upon a substance or activity, but ruled by my ego. My need to reach outside myself for fulfillment was created by a false perception of deficiency. If this sense of lack didn’t exist in me, there wouldn’t have been a need to reach and grasp. My credentials for writing this book are simply that I live this change each day. My view of life is so different from the way it used to be. Through the practice outlined in my book, I have learned to quiet my mind enough to allow my heart to open. The quieter my mind becomes, the more Love becomes the default setting of my life. This is truly a modern-day miracle, a miracle that can happen to anyone who has the urge to change. www.mondayinyourmind.com
Michael Cupo

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