The Power of Stopping
--by Gangaji (Feb 09, 2009)
The trance of conditioned thoughts can be deep and complex, but it has no defense against something as simple as "stop". When you consciously recognize this point of stopping, you have a real choice. Before that recognition, your thoughts are just mechanical actions of mind based on past conditioning, on desire, on aversion. After that recognition, you can consciously choose to tell the truth about what is always present before thought, after thought, and during thought. Can presence be thought? This question, in effect, crumbles the neat patterns of the mind. It causes a dropping, a realease, and relief from the huge illusory world of thought. The balancing, and re-balancing and re-forming and re-inventin of what you call "me" is only a thought, with another thought processed on top of that, and then another thought. The moment of recognizing what cannot be thought is the moment of recognizing who you are. It is a moment of the mind's surrender to silence.
I speak a lot about stopping, but perhaps I haven't yet really spoken about it in a way that can be understood. Stopping is, first of all, recognizing that as thoughts arise you have a choice: your mind can either follow the thoughts or be still, letting them arise without touching them. My invitation to stop is not to build thought, to not fantasize or replay old events. The choice is for the mind to be still, and in that choice is the possibility of recognizing what is always still, whether there are thoughts or no thoughts.
[…] Not following mind activity is different from resisting the mind or repressing thoughts. Not following thought has a relaxing, opening quality. Although it may feel unfamiliar, and the fear of the unfamiliar may in itself generate mind activity, to stop following thoughts is effortless. In following thoughts and further spinning our stories, the simple and profound ease of being is overlooked.
- By Gangaji, from "The Diamond In your Pocket"