“Stop thinking, and end your problems”.
These are some of the most comforting words I’ve ever read. 2500 years ago the Chinese sage Lao Tzu realized our “problems” are in our mind, they are thoughts, and in quiet stillness are they quietly transcended and new insights given the space to arise.
A challenging situation encountered in life is just this –– a collection of perceptions about the supposed “facts of the matter”. Our minds make perceived situations into “problems”.
Lao Tzu quietly reminds us that our perceptions often can not be trusted, nor should we give so much weight to our judgmental thoughts (arising from faulty perception) that they create emotional suffering experienced in the body. And by not engaging in problematic thinking, by not sharing these thoughts, we can weaken their effect on us, those around us, and the world.
N.O.W. is essentially a system that corrects perception –– not by replacing one so called perceptual “reality” with another, but by stilling the mind’s tendency to judge. The most obvious and immediate proof of N.O.W.’s power to do this: The eyes perceive N.O.W. to be two separate objects, but the ears know N.O.W. to be one, unified, aural experience.
Like much of the writing in the Tao Te Ching (try the Stephen Mitchell translation, my favorite), our egoic mind reads a sentence like “Stop thinking, and end your problems” and quickly snaps to incredulous attention and thinks: “You mean if I stop thinking about my crappy boss he is going to disappear? I don’t believe it”.
Note “crappy boss” is a perception and judgment. It is a thought.
Lao Tzu quietly suggests another way. He suggest we could begin by accepting a situation, as it is, and forgo the usual perception / judgment thought sequence that is the cause of lack of peace –– a “problem”.
By design, N.O.W. provides opportunities to practice acceptance of the moment because its abstract, non-symbolic, non-idomatic, random sounds slip by the egoic mind’s sensors –– there is not much to perceive and there is not much to judge.
Little does the egoic mind know that your essential self –– consciousness, is being strengthened and awakened each time you listen. And the effects are cumulative. N.O.W. is so subtle and benign it quietly, Ninja-like, avoids the sentry that is your egoic mind. The egoic mind is like: “No words here, guess I don’t have to worry. No concepts here, I don’t have to defend my position or be on guard”.
Ha! N.O.W. is like water flowing into all the low places. N.O.W. is like a gentle, warm, unseen breeze –– who could object to such a thing?
N.O.W. does not fight against your faulty perceptions. It deftly transcends them and leaves you with the “peace that passeth all understanding” (the peace that is not thought-form, “concept”, based).