Pollution is always high on the agenda, and quite rightly so. The planet as we know it is in great danger. But the source of the pollution isn’t in the physical. It lies in the mind or the collective consciousness of humanity. As a race, we have allowed it to happen. We all know this but so far have failed to generate sufficient willpower to reverse it. The problem of pollution, and its solution, lies in the mind. That’s even closer to home than your own wheelie bin.
Like pollution, there is more to the mind than you think
If we ever try to examine the nature of our mind, we will probably find that there is no single thing we can actually identify as mind. Instead, there is a collection of interacting and interdependent faculties or components.
The most apparent and obvious aspect is the chattering of thoughts that we experience almost incessantly. One thought yields another and it is difficult to say when one thought ends and another begins. A better description might be that we have streams of thinking and a rather apt term used in some Eastern teachings is mindstream. As we shall see, this is susceptible to pollution.
We don’t change our minds – the mind is constantly changing
Our mindstreams are constantly changing, being influenced by the mindstreams of others. If we are influenced by something we read or hear, it is an effect of the mindstream of the writer or speaker. In turn, he or she will have been influenced. If we look deeply enough, we will find that there is no beginning and no end to these thought processes. At every stage, too, there is the possibility of pollution.
Choice and responsibility
Just as a stream of water collects minerals, debris and pollutants on its journey, our mindstreams also pick up thoughts, ideas and beliefs as we go through life. Unlike water, we have some choice in what we expose ourselves to, and how much.
The amount of information that is available these days is frightening. We need to be choosy and, the less rubbish in our minds, the better we will feel about ourselves and others. We will be less likely to pollute the mindstreams of others with our own detritus and, who knows, may even inspire with our positivity!
Adapted extract from the book The Art of Not Doing