Hey, I’ve been following Eckhart Tolle and this blog for a couple of months now and I also try one of the practices, for example the observation of the mind. But whenever I try to observe it without judgment, it's very hard because my thoughts have too much power. Got any tips on how to escape the mind?
Yes. One tip is stop trying to escape. Don't make the mind into a problem. It claims to be very important, and the importance it receives through habit makes it appear stronger. Don't have any aim, as if there is anything to become free from or experience. Without an aim, there is no sense of time, and so the mind naturally takes on less force.
Trying to observe without judgement, you may have noticed, creates a kind of tension, a hardness. Already you are observing. You are already aware of all judgments, the pull of the mind etc.
Make no assumptions about yourself. Do not assume you are a person or an object that must do anything. Any idea of yourself or who you are that you are aware of - don't give belief to - since obviously they are merely ideas, limitations.
There is a kind of "method" that is very helpful, but the mind, at first, rebels against it to try to throw the attention of course. It has been advised by sages such as Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Eckhart talks about it to some extent, I believe. It is to drop everything internally, and only remain with the FEELING of being, of presence, or the feeling I AM - they are all the same thing. The simple feeling of existence. It can at first most easily be felt in the body. It is always there, it need not be generated by you - it is existence itself, which remains the same and unaffected no matter what the mind is doing. As you feel that you simply exist, the mind may come to influence the attention, particularly with ideas of "I am this or that". Thoughts can have their pull, attention may be lost in the mind, strange uncomfortable sensations may arise - make no problem, have no conflict with anything, just drop expectations of yourself, of the mind, of experience, and feel the sense of existence. Don't attempt to control what the mind does, leave it alone.
Another version of this is to simply be the space in which the mind (and everything else in the body) functions. Space has no quarrel with what arises within it, and is not fascinated by what arises within it. Feeling is the key, it diverts attention from thinking.
Don’t think of yourself as an object that needs to escape anything. Without you, nothing else would exist. Without you, the so-called mind and the feeling of being trapped in it, would not exist.
Obviously this is a topic that many many books and teachers are devoted to addressing, but if the simple feeling of existence is remained with, without desire, naturally the mind merges back with it. You may notice that although there is this stillness, peace, some energy wants to escape from the peace! As if the mind is trying to escape existence. You are existence, not the mind.
Existence doesn’t care what the mind does, the "you" who feels trapped in the mind, is just another thought.
Something gets pulled into the mind, the gravitational pull seems to pull the attention towards it. Yet, there is an unmovable awareness that is naturally aware of attention moving to and from the mind. So it is not you who gets pulled in to thinking, it is just the surface attention. Being remains the same.
This is all much easier if you realise that there is no happiness in thoughts, that thoughts are not serving you, and that you can not find yourself in any thought. An overall lack of interest and indifference to the mind is helpful.
An alternative is to enquire "who am I", turn inwards to find out, but to take no concept or object of perception as the answer - since these are all perceived by you. The focus on "who am I?" keeps other thoughts at bay, whilst leading the attention towards existence itself. This enquiry was made very famous by the great sage Ramana Maharshi.
There are many possible answers to a question like this. In truth you are already out of the mind, but the idea of self, when believed in, feels very much trapped.
Thanks for your question,