"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!
The Human species has raised self deception and denial to an art form, but how and maybe more importantly why? I can tell already that this will not be the easiest article I've ever written and probably won't be the easiest to read. But regardless of the perceived difficulty, I believe that this issue needs some attention before we all get lost forever in a conceptual version of reality and it becomes virtually impossible for us to find our way back to the world of direct experience where we can still smell the smells, feel what we touch, experience the vibrations of sound and taste the vivid textures of the present moment in time, where and when our lives actually take place.
It is astonishing that we spend perhaps 90% of the moments of our lives living in a conceptual representation of reality called abstract thoughts which take place in the abstract mind. This is not easy to realize because we visit the real actual world so rarely these days that we don't recognize where we are at any given moment. That is, where our attention is placed most of the time. The truth is that we spend most of our time in thoughts of the future, the past and pure fantasies created by our ability to imagine. And this brings us to the question of why we would do such a thing and how do we do it?
First we need to understand the power of the process of conditioning. Whatever we are exposed to repeatedly over time will become installed as a habitual behavior pattern that we believe is the real us or world. The fact that these patterns can and are installed without our conscious awareness is the foundation of the power of conditioning itself and takes a constant and high degree of awareness to combat and defend against.
What we identify with and how and why we identify with it is important to be aware of, and this calls for a little self examination. But it is essential that we become aware of the process of how we identify with anything and why. Why does it not seem strange that we rarely investigate the existence of the thing we call ego? How many of us actually know what it is and what it does? What purpose does it serve? Traveling down this path will lead us to the realization that there are two egos. One is natural to us and is critical to our survival. It helps us see ourselves as separate and individual so that we can look after ourselves, protect ourselves, feed ourselves and avoid harm. This is a natural and necessary element of our species existence.
But in time, fear made it necessary for us to create another ego identity and we then made an even bigger mistake by giving that identity a great deal of our power. This ego became the I me my mine monster that rules by fear, denial and deception. It is the one who creates the vails of self deception that we have come to believe is the real us in the real world when in fact it is only illusions created by our minds unique capabilities.
Greed, hatred and delusion, the ancient Buddhists realized that these were the culprits behind most of the misery in the world and they all spring from the I me my mine ego that we have come to believe is the real us interacting with the real world when in fact this is a mental construct of ourselves living in a mental construct of reality. A conceptual representation of reality that doesn't really exist beyond our mind. But why have we allowed this to come about? The answer to this is found in discovering the ways in which this arrangement serves us.
Greed, we desperately try to cling to that which is pleasant and desirable. Hatred, desperately we try to escape or avoid that which is unpleasant and distasteful. Delusion, the ways in which we manipulate our perception of things, conditions and events so that we don't have to take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions which are the true source of the things, conditions and events in our lives such as those motivated by greed and hatred. Think of the lengths to which the human life form will go to get what we think we want and desire.
And who is it that really wants and desires things? The I me my mine ego creates this illusion of reality that we dance to and to which we sometimes sacrifice our entire lives. It is an illusion that we have forgotten is not real, just a device to allow us to feel good about ourselves and our betrayal of our hearts and true nature, the act of taking refuge in the adolescent stage of human development so we don't have to think about the real issues of being a responsible life form.
There is a great e-book that explores the levels of awareness here.