I was listening this morning to a few episodes of the podcast series of Headspace and a couple made me feel so inspired that I suddenly felt the need to share it.
The first one is called “Mind Maintenance”. In this episode Andy (founder of Headspace) starts off about his conversation with his mum about garderning. He says that his stepdad asked his mum if she was finally done gardening. His mum replied that you don’t finish garderning. Gardening is something you do each day, because the plants and the flowers in the garden grow and need care everyday.
It is the same with the mind Andy continues. Taking care of the mind is not something you do once and then you’re done for the rest of the week. He’s saying that by taking the time to for example meditate everyday, you are not repeating the same thing over and over again. What you’re doing by consciously taking the time everyday to care for your mind, is creating an environment for the mind to be healthy and happy. And it means that you take the time, that you show up to create that environment, just like you show up and take the time to garden the plants. Just like the plants need the light to grow, the mind needs the attention as well to not wander off and to be healthy.
I felt it was so spot on. It’s something you start to feel when you meditate for a while or when you do something else every day to take care of your mind and it’s hard to put into words. But in this analogy with garderning (not that I do gardering) I felt exactly like a feeling was put into words. By taking the time every day to give attention to the mind and bringing it back to itself, you create a healthier environment for all of your thoughts, encounters, conversations and emotions for the rest of your day. You will still have thoughts and have emotions but at least they are welcomed in a caring home, a warm home. And you might not even consciously notice the difference, because the state of your mind is the way you perceive things. So when your mind is more calm, there is no other mind on the side that you can compare it with. The “other” mind in the past or in other times you are comparing it with, is first of all the same mind but you’re also perceiving that “other” mind in a different light now. Both minds you will always experience them first hand, which means that it’s the sunglassses you’re looking through at the world and it’s the color of your experiences.
Another episode that I really liked is called “If You’re Happy And You Know it…”. Happiness is often thought of as something you don’t have. If I do this… I will be happy; If I buy this… I will be happy; If I achieve this… I will be happy. Andy is proposing to turn this around: instead of trying to achieve happiness, try to let go of unhappiness. Because if you think about it: what is happiness? I think it’s a state of the mind as I wouldn’t know what things outside of me I could pinpoint hapinness on. I wouldn’t say that having a lot of money would make me happy; it can make things easier, definitely, but it’s not the key to happiness. But if I think about what makes me unhappy, I know it’s the unhappy thoughts, the experiences that I judge to be bad; it’s the dark layer that’s covering up the neutral mood of the mind. And this neutral mood of the mind is happiness. So instead of looking at happiness as if it’s something you don’t have yet but something that you can achieve if… You can also think of happiness as something that’s alreayd there but that is covered under unhappy thoughts, stress, and so on. By letting go of the things that make you unhappy, you will start to feel more happy.
These two episodes can compliment each other so much. By taking the time to focus on your mind, you are actually focusing on the neutral mood of the mind, which is happiness or at least not unhappiness. And by letting go of all the things that cloud your mind, you’re letting go of unhappiness which as a result create a healthy and happy environment for your mind. This environment is the environment that you experience the world in so better let it be a good one.
I hope these perspectives inspire you as well! All the episodes of Headspace you can find them on Spotify and they only take 5 minutes each so you can listen to one or two while taking a break. Definitely a tip!