Mind


We met him in Bangkok, during one of the first days of our journey around the world. We choose to start the adventure from Asia, hoping to experience cultures which approach life in a different way than ours, so strongly focused on rationality and ill disposed towards other spheres such as emotions, relations, body, spirit. Khun is a successful businessman supporting local social entrepreneurs in their struggle for sustainability. He invited us for dinner in a street food bar and a concert afterward. We quite soon started to speak about the meaning of life, as we had known each other for ages. He spoke a lot about the mind, which has a central role in Buddhism. But speaking about it, he didn't point at his head. He touched his heart instead.

That evening became a #MileStoneExperience in our endeavour to understand who we actually are and where and how we process and fathom information about the world. Do they really come from our thoughts only? Isn't it the opposite, that thoughts sometimes cover the essence, trying to explain things which the brain (not the mind) cannot grasp? When did we shift the mind in our head, moving it out from the center of our body? And what does mind actually mean? Isn't it more related to heart or to soul than brains?

While exploring the topic we went to different meditation courses, we started to speak and read a lot about that, becoming more and more convinced that our rationality – although very useful and crucial for our survival and development – sometimes prevents us from getting to the right understanding and to the right decision. We like to rationalize, meaning to give some semblance of rational arguments to things which may not have a rational take at all. We like to have a reason, so we build an explanation that sounds logical, but it may not quite be connected to facts. It's our brain (mind?) which won't be satisfied till it gets to a smart-looking answer, rather than everything about us being rational and logical. We experienced lots of truth through our emotions, relations and connections which is difficult to put into words; even more, once you try and pen them down they lose their meaning. Just naming something we feel sometimes as if it makes a crucial part of the experience fading - nailed into a word, it simply disappears.

Today, we feel that there is something inside us, neither in the brains nor in the heart, called mind (maybe voice, intuition, soul, you name it), which knows quite well who we are and where we should be going. We hear it more in the silence of nature, in the emptiness of vast spaces, between the words, in a deep look at somebody's eyes. It can be heard only here and now, as that's the only existing reality. Oftentimes, especially in big cities, in the Western rat race, in the daily hustle and bustle it gets numb, waiting for a better moment to reconnect with us. But it reminds from time to time about its existence by a sudden stab in the heart, longing for something undefined, a sadness arising without a real reason.

Since we started this process of befriending our minds, our life is much simpler. There is less struggle, less needs, less outside and inside conflicts. Not that they disappear completely. But we are able to observe them from a distance, analyse and learn, without taking things too personally. Because most - if not all - of them are actually not personal. We accept things as they are without necessary naming them as good or bad. Things are. We are. Life is. Sometimes that's just enough, no need for adjectives.

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We are Anna and Andrea, a Polish-Italian couple traveling around the world. We are looking for changemakers,  in order to describe and share their stories.

Our journey is based on exchange: story telling and other skills in exchange for a place to sleep and food. 
 

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