"Did you ever feel like an alien who somehow became stranded on a planet called Earth where nothing seemed to make any sense?" A quote from "Ming The Merciless"
Recovering from civilization can be brutal but neccessary if we are to become truly free from it's influence. Kick the civilization habit here!
We explore the frontiers of land, sea, space, the relative universe and the quantum universe, but only a relative few ever think of exploring the mind, and many of them are limited by a specific agenda. Why do we not expend large amounts of resources to explore the most important territory, the mind? Are we afraid? And if so, what are we afraid of? Are we afraid of what we might find if we go to the world within and search for the truths that may await us there? What if we discovered that most of what we have always thought was real, is not real? This could be a mind shattering event since we are usually defined by what we believe is real. Our identity, our security, our comfort, all depend on what we believe is reality.
While exploring the frontier of the mind can be scary at times, it can also be exciting, and if along the way we discover that something we long thought was true or real turns out to be untrue or not real, so what? This only means that we now have an opportunity to discover what is true and what is real. I mean, don't we want to know the truth? And that of course is the relevant question.
Do we really want to know the actual truth? Especially if that might mean turning our comfortable world upside down. Could we be so obsessed with comfort and convenience that we are willing to sacrifice living in the genuine reality and instead exchange it for mental constructs of reality? This means believing that the world of ideas which are built from the thoughts of our minds, are the real world rather than the products of the minds activities that we have somehow convinced ourselves are not mental constructs but the real and actual reality.
So, you may be asking yourself "what is this guy talking about, mental constructs?" Well, it's all about what our consciousness and attention are focused on. In other words, when, where and what are we conscious of, and therefore experiencing, in the present moment? Do you remember the present moment? The here and now? It's kind of like when we become intellectually lazy to the point that we forget that the word is not the actual thing that it represents, the word 'moon' is only a finger pointing at the actual moon, not the moon itself. We mistake reality for the thoughts and ideas we are having about reality, the mental constructs or conceptualizations of reality.
The actual real world is the world of direct experience, the ongoing changing events that are happening in our mind, our body and our immediate surrounding environment. The ever changing flow of life, our physical sensations, the thoughts generated by our mind, the sounds of the world around us. The actual time and place where phenomenon are coming and going. But we have lost our awareness of this place in time. We are conscious of only our mental picture of reality in our mind which rarely changes at all much less all the time like the real world does.
But when, where and why did we abandon the world of direct experience in favor of a conceptual representation (our mental image) of reality? That would be the reason why we should explore the most important frontier, the mind. But how do we explore something that has already proven itself to be slippery and deceptive? When we say 'our mind', just whose mind is it? Who or what is it that has this mind? Do we belong to the mind or does it belong to us? And just who is us, I, me?
Fortunately there are some truths that come to our rescue here. The first of which is the fact that we are the Human adaptation of life, one of the most powerful forms of life ever to evolve, and one element of that power is our ability to be conscious on many different levels. This is the very characteristic by means of which we find ourselves in the current mess with realities in the first place. If we don't use power consciously, we will be used by power in unpredictable ways.
But there is one particular level of consciousness that is very different from the rest. The Buddhists call it mindfulness and it is that part of us that is able to be aware of the activities of our own mind on a completely unattached level. Note that last qualification; 'a completely unattached level'. This is the state of mind that is able to experience the real world and us in it as it is happening in every unfolding second, the process of life, without getting captured by it and lost in it.
Beyond this reality are only the delusions, illusions and fantasies of our undisciplined mind. Mindfulnes watches the thoughts produced by our mind, watches the feel of the moving air against our skin, the power of emotions welling up in response to the thoughts our mind is producing, feels the sensations of sounds as they enter our senses pure and as yet unidentified and unlabeled and not yet objectified by the mind. Such as the vibrations that enter our ear and permeate our whole being down to the cellular level, sweet and rich and all pervasive in that first second before we call it a bell and are no longer able to touch the experience because we have separated ourselves from it by our mind.
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