Sunday, May 11, 2014

mind games

It helps the mind to have a story to tell itself. The mind likes a combination of words put into a logical order that rationalizes and excuses any fears or potential drawbacks to a decision. The mind enjoys the idea that it made a decision, that it has power over the way the life will go, that it can wrap itself around enough variables to decide to act in a way that will control the course of life, and that there is some certainty and understandability possible from its perspective.

But the truth is, decisions aren't made on the basis of having enough time or information. Decisions can never be known to be 'right' except in that no decision is ever 'wrong.' Acting or not acting are two sides of the same coin. Alan Watts liked to say that we hem and haw and make a show of weighing our options, but when it comes down to it we make a decision at the very last moment and the mind comforts itself with the thought that it gave the decision 'enough thought.' Except... there is no way to ever know every variable or possible outcome. It may be more helpful to instead become increasingly aware of which actions or non-actions facilitate conditions leading to growth and love, and which lead to harm, and then, to intend to and increasingly learn to actually do that which will less likely cause harm and more likely improve conditions for growth and love. It is much easier in the end to let go of expectations and a need for certainty of a particular outcome from an action, and watch what arises and learn from it, no matter what it looks like, 'bad' or 'good.'

It helps the mind to separate this from that. It gives a sensation of understanding of reality (in order to have a sensation of control over reality) when things can be judged and put into categories. This leads to a sense that some things are 'like' and 'not-like' whatever the mind has judged its experience to be. This leads to attraction and attachment to things that are 'like' and aversion to things that are 'not-like' the mind's description of itself. This is useful in learning survival when we are children, in creating a feeling of safety. But the mind latches onto its descriptions and creates an inflexible system of beliefs and named phenomena that supports its own sense of itself, so of course it balks at anything that questions its version of what it believes reality to be. This leads to fear of losing what the mind is attached to, and anger at things the mind believes itself to be different from.

But the truth is, placing things into categories creates division, and resistance to what is. What is is a pattern, and an interlocking web of patterns, conditions and an interlocking web of conditions, ever changing instant to instant in a dance of unimaginable complexity and simplicity.

It helps the mind to create a persona that it can separate from thoughts, a persona it can elevate and give importance to. Using the words 'me' and 'I' before verbs, adjectives, and words describing feelings, gives a feeling of separateness from those actions, those experiences, those judgments, and the thoughts themselves. But can thoughts be separated from that which is thinking them? Can a personality be separated from the actions or experiences that occur? Can a mind separate itself from the body it is surrounded by or the air, water, and earth that nourishes it?

The truth is, of course not. Krishnamurti liked to say that the very activity of the mind is a barrier to its own understanding- understanding arises in the interval between two thoughts. Self is not thought, nor is it the 'thinker,' nor is it the 'observer;' is it something that cannot be described in words or understood with thoughts. The Self, to the extent it (or any of the following) can be named, is the same as Truth, the same as God, the same as Love, the same as the Tao.

A way to know the Self is to learn to develop the qualities that will allow the Self to be brought forth into the world to be seen and known by experience rather than by description, analysis, or judgment. A way to allow this is to happen, to begin to experience the Self as 'not-thought' and 'not-mind' and 'not-sensation,' is to allow the personality, the ego, to clear itself of habits, reactions, expectations, attachments and aversions. And a way to do this is by becoming still, open, and free of analysis, beginning to illuminate these behaviors the mind (conscious and unconscious) produces. As you practice, these behaviors begin dissolving on their own, and the illusions they are built on start fading in the growing light of consciousness.

'Reality is not of time and it is not measurable.' - J. Krishnamurti

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