Whatever you become aware of, the mind may try to control it - the pitfall and the solution

happy's picture

Average: 4.3 (8 votes)

The Pitfall

Whatever you become aware of, the mind may try to control it.

This is a paradox on the path.

It means that when you progress on the path, when you become aware of more things that used to be unconscious, you surprisingly may experience a strange unexpected setback.

Whatever is brought into the light of consciousness, the mind tries to gain control over it. This is what the mind does, this is the job of the mind: to gain control over whatever is there.

As a result, an emotion, for example, that used to lie in subconsciousness for eons inflicting certain limited pain, is now borough to awareness and instead of evaporating is nailed back by the control of the mind and is inflicting much more pain and distress.

The Solution

Use breathing, the bridge between the controllable and the uncontrollable, to exercise the release of control over the known.

Those who practice Anapana, a meditation in which the meditator simply witnesses his breathing, are familiar with this habit of the mind to grab control over the breathing immediately when starting to be aware of it. Suddenly, the rhythm, the depth, the path of the breath become more ordered, they change to something in mind.

The trick is to work on the breaking of the control over the breath. It is easier than trying to do so with other mental objects of awareness. It is easier with the breathing because the breathing is the threshold between the physical and the mental, between the conscious and the unconscious which is therefore least tolerant to control of all that is conscious.

genep's picture


you have obviously not meditated long enough to realize that there is no control: everything takes care of it-SELF... meditation makes NO difference:

with or without meditation everything takes care of It-SELF
but you might have to meditate long enough to realize it:
there is NO control: everything takes care of it-SELF.

-- really Really REALLY

genep | Sat, 11/28/2009 - 21:04
shishmanidov35's picture

Look deeper

I have meditated and instructed meditation long enough to know that not only that the mind's chief act is to control but it inflicts the main problem of man.

Dig deeper and be more diligent and you will discover the enormous control your mind tries to apply.

The slogan "everything takes care of itself" is nice but like the other generic simplistic slogans is hollow, it has no true meaning beyond the concept. What's the exact meaning of "Takes care"? Takes care according to exactly what purpose function? How exactly does it take care of itself and so on.

shishmanidov35 | Sun, 11/29/2009 - 08:17
banana | Mon, 12/21/2009 - 08:38
solomon's picture

In many cases

Yes, in many cases. Spiritual seekers think hopefuly that their dimished sexual urge is due to them being more spiritualy evolved while as a matter of fact it is just that they unknowingly imposed more control. See also my comment in http://www.gurusfeet.com/blog/peaks-pleasure#comment-8509

solomon | Sat, 01/02/2010 - 14:45
anderlaus's picture

Another article about this common obstacle

This is one of the most common obstacles of the path. The mind enters through the back door.

Here is another good article that discusses the very same issue:


anderlaus | Mon, 08/22/2011 - 07:18