The following is an article originally published on the authors site, "The Journal of Wayne Wirs" -

Do you experience these symptoms?

1. You act in ways that are in opposition to the way you think you should act.

2. Thoughts in your mind seem real, sometimes more real than the chair you are sitting in.

3. You think you have control of your thoughts and yet you can't hold the simple image of a speck of dust in your mind for more than five seconds.

4. You think you should be able to control your emotions and yet you still get depressed and angry sometimes.

Finally, 5. You don't think you're insane for acting this way.

The good news is, because 99% of the population experiences their inner world the same way, YOU ARE NOT INSANE. The bad news is, since the above doesn't make any sense at all, then you must be dreaming.

Being unconscious isn't necessarily bad, it just means that some things that COULD be in your awareness aren't. Just like before you read this line, you weren't aware of the big toe on your left foot (but now you are). Something, some searchlight in you mind, just slid down to your left foot. You didn't have any control of it. Let me say that again YOU DID NOT HAVE ANY CONTROL OF WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR MIND JUST THEN. It didn't take any thinking on your part, your mind just did what I intended it to do. Let that sink in, I made your mind do what I wanted it to... Now what the hell is that going on in your mind right now? It was just shooting around like Richochette Rabbit just then wasn't it? Look! There's a cartoon rabbit bouncing off the walls!. Look! He spelled Ricochet wrong! Aaagghhh! Who the hell's in charge of my mind? Me or him? "You bastard!"

Whew. I hope the above exercise illustrates something. I hope it tells you that YOU aren't in charge of your mind, everyone else is (kidding) - more precisely, your mind reacts to your situation automatically and THERE'S NOT A DAMN THING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

But something far more important happened in the above exercise, you stopped identifying with your mind and started watching it. In that experience you (one thing) watched your mind (a second thing). Therefore you just experienced yourself as that which watches your mind, not the mind itself. You were conscious of the mind. For a brief moment, you were awake.

Conscious; Awake; Waking Up; Being Asleep; Unconscious. These words are used throughout all the wisdom traditions for a good reason. They simply mean that when you are identified with the mind, when you get caught up in it's fantasies, it's desires, it's defenses - when you experience the images/thoughts of the mind AS REALITY (versus an interpretation of reality) then you are unconscious. It is EXACTLY like dreaming. When you dream, you experience it as real. When you are identified with the mind, you experience the minds doings as real. When you step back and watch the mind, you experience the minds doings as no more solid than a ray of light shining through the very real leaves of life's trees.

So how do you get past the mind, how do you stay awake? Personally, I don't think you can do it. In that, I mean I don't think that you MAKE it happen, I think it happens to you. All you can do is put yourself in a situation that is conducive for the searchlight of awareness to shine a little brighter. As the awareness grows, the mental noise quiets. For myself that is what all the research was for. The research helped me to become aware of the insanity of identifying with the mind. Armed with this knowledge, I then started using meditation to help "catch" myself slipping into this identification with thoughts (which I have no control of). The more I "catch" the mind slipping into itself, the stronger the awareness becomes.

When the mind understands that the mind isn't in control, then the power of the mind starts to relax it's grip. It lets go of judgments, of proving itself, of being right, and most importantly of the story of who you are. But what is left in the room when you've tossed out all the old junk? Just who or what the hell are you really? Who indeed? Practice, practice, practice.

Author's Bio: 

Wayne Wirs is a long time spiritual seeker who uses photography, philosophy and meditation as tools to help find inner peace. His website, The Journal Of Wayne Wirs, can be found at