The Obsessive Mind

By Jon Bernie

The obsessive mind is addictive. It has a life of its own. It can’t be controlled or manipulated, and ultimately it cannot be satisfied. An example of this would be the longing one might experience in unrequited love. Many thoughts and feelings might arise about the desired person, but underneath would always be the essential pain of longing. Longing is its own reality. Its nature, literally, is not getting the unavailable. It isn’t about being satisfied. Its reality is being unsatisfied. As Mick Jagger put it, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” If one remains caught in trying to get satisfaction, the obsessive mind continues to be fueled by that desire.

Freedom from the obsessive mind

So how do we become free of the obsessive mind? By letting the intense energy of the underlying emotional state fully discharge through the body. This can only happen when we give 100% of our attention to what is—in this case, the movement of the emotion, or the pain of longing. This attention does not arise from personal will, but from the absence of a self. This 100% attention is pure awareness: without story or projection, without anticipation or expectation, without conclusions or judgments. It is pure intelligence, and pure wisdom.

If a particular obsessive pattern is very old, arising from early conditioning or early wounding, then it may recur, even as we deepen into awareness. One may naturally be concerned about—or disturbed by—this recurrence. But in reality, the pattern’s recurrence is not our business, or our problem; we simply need to ride the waves when they arise. At some point, the pattern becomes fully dissolved into awareness. We cannot know when this will happen or how long it will take.

So in our example of longing: When the longing has been fully allowed, and not acted upon, a clarity opens in our heart, and we find ourselves free of the obsessive mind. The vastness of our true heart has blossomed, and the fragrance of its essential nature, love, fills every realm of perception.