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The spiritual practice of Re-Minding

As I have been exploring the path of non-duality, I have been finding and fine-tuning a series of practices that help me connect with that way of understanding and experiencing the world. One such practice I would like to share here.

First, I need to set the scene. Non-duality is the idea that there is no difference between subject and object – you and the things and people you see around you. We are all made of the same one stuff – something like a universal consciousness – out of which arises all that we experience, internally and externally. Now, because this is such a vast, formless concept, there is no way of truly putting it into words that we can understand intellectually, and so there are lots of different ways that people have figured out to point towards it. Plenty of Buddhist teaching attempt to do this. Lots of zen and secular meditations are all about connecting to this understanding of the world. I have even heard some marvelously compelling ideas, using quantum theory as the entry to a non-dual approach. Last year I was introduced to a beautifully practical approach that also points us towards a non-dual understanding – called The Three Principles. The Three Principles were brought into the world through a spontaneous revelation by a lowly Scottish welder living in Canada, called Sydney Banks. You can read more about his revelation here, if you like. He presented the idea that we are all living in a world created by our thinking. Our thoughts are brought to life and made to seem real by our consciousness via our senses, and all of our troubles as humans stem from the fact that we get too wrapped up in believing our thinking to be true. And finally, Banks pointed to the Universal Mind that is the intelligence and energy that powers all living things. This Universal Mind would be what many in non-dual circles would call Universal Consciousness, but let’s not get too attached to the names here – remembering it is all just a very poor attempt to label that which cannot be labelled.

Within the three principles approach, as with many religious and spiritual traditions, there is limitless peace, joy, creativity, compassion to be found in getting out of our own heads, our own thinking, and connecting with this Universal Mind. What I have loved noticing since playing with Sydney Bank’s ideas, is that when you disconnect from your thinking, even if momentarily, Universal Mind will serve you up with increasingly helpful insights. As opposed to many psychological techniques which attempt to help us change our thinking by making it more positive or more realistic, this practice is simply about recognising the fact of your thinking, and then stepping out of the flow of thought for a while.

So now we come to the practice that I have adopted, and which I can highly recommend. Essentially, it is a form of mindfulness practice, about realising, periodically throughout the day, when I am becoming wrapped up in my thinking, and then stepping back (or out) of it and allowing my mind to rest in a state of awareness. I once attended a Zen Buddhist meditation class, where open awareness was the anchor for attention. At the time I didn’t really get how that could be an anchor (what is left when you let go of thought and your sense perceptions?). This is very much similar to that, and it makes perfect sense to me. The difference now is that I am experiencing this resting state as a re-connection with Universal Mind, combined with a knowledge that whatever comes next will be a higher quality thought or insight than what came before. It can be a momentary practice, and that’s fine too. The key point is to keep the realization of thought close to the surface, so you don’t get dragged too far into the mud of believing your thinking.

I have come to call this practice, Re-Minding. Somewhat predictably, the name re-minding came to me in one of these moments where I had stepped out of my thinking in order to ‘access’ Universal Mind. Language matters, and how we label things can impact how we perceive and engage with them. I love the term Re-Minding, because it differentiates this practice from other types of spiritual or meditation techniques I use. The practice is more about remembering, or reminding myself, of the power of thought in creating my current experience, and that remembering is enough to give me perspective and immediately access a higher consciousness. And then it is about re-connecting to the Universal Mind – Re-Minding.

In the non-dual understanding, the universal consciousness is our true state of being - We are spiritual beings having a human experience, not human beings having a spiritual experience. So in this sense we really are just Re-Minding ourselves of who or what we truly are. Sydney Banks would say that this place of infinite peace and love is also innate to us, so it doesn't require effort to attain, but rather a simple realisation.

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