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Mind – action, thought, and the past

Observing things or becoming aware of something without our knowledge interfering with the observation is difficult - I am not saying unattainable.

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Our mind interferes with the process of our thought for each of our acts
Our mind interferes with the process of our thought for each of our acts

On the one hand, the human mind is extraordinarily complex and, on the other, straightforward. It’s one of the rare creations or object or phenomenon in Nature. Instead, we make it complicated due to the many psychological compulsions we have or acquire or build during our existence in this material world, causing conflict and pain through resistance to certain things and the acceptance and acquisition of some. It’s difficult for us to observe or watch something without involving our minds. Our mind interferes with the process of our thought for each of our acts.

Let us take an example – let’s keep a glass of beer in the middle of a table and ask four guys to look at it and tell us what they think – chances are they will come with four different opinions! Same thing you can try with a cup of coffee or a flower!

Life was always like a vast sea beach, and we are strolling across looking and collecting sea-shells; we hold on to some while some we throw away, thus creating – happiness and unhappiness.

Throughout our life, we acquire knowledge on many aspects – from books, from teachers, from relatives, from circumstances, from experiences, from events, interactions, exchanges. And all this acquired knowledge is used to build only our own self – our own beliefs, our illusions in making us believe that we are all different individuals – making every one of us a self-centered entity – what I mean is all our actions and thoughts act with ‘ourselves’ in the center of it.

Whatever we observe is guided by our desires, our motive, our memory, our thought. Instead of a beer, even if we see a blooming rose – one will think to take a photo, another to draw it, someone to pluck it for his/her friend, someone to keep it, someone will ignore it, some will stay away as they may not like the smell! All these actions happen with the elusive ‘me’ in the center, a product of experience that helps build it. So even being similar, we act so differently.

I want this, I don’t want this, I am correct, I want to be a director, I want to an actor, I don’t want a jet, I don’t want to read this crap, I know better, I want sex, I enjoy solitude, I hate liquor, I like guys, I like to show off, I like piercing, I love youtube and so on. Knowledge makes us create an image of our own self and others around us in our mind from which our actions take shape And measures which take form from the self-centered knowledge and our selfishness, ego, vanity, greed, and aggression are always damaging. It will give rise to conflicts – conflicts between man and woman, the conflict between societies, nations, institutions, religious groups, and all people. And all of these lead us to try and act differently to prove and establish our so-called individuality. One of the prime objectives of life today is to showcase oneself as ‘different’ – either by a weird haircut or making a youtube video in the shower or having a tattoo, or writing nonsense in a social profile. We ourselves are creating differences between us, which have a much more significant effect on humanity at a macro level.

Observing things or becoming aware of something without our knowledge interfering with the observation is difficult – I am not saying unattainable. And that is what defines meditation.

The other factor which is essential and requires consideration in this context is time – as knowledge is acquired over time.

Past and the Evil

It’s difficult for us to act without any reference to thought – thought, which is a product of the past. I sincerely agree – and one thing I want to tell all of you that these words which I write here are not words to be taken as a theory or as an analysis or as preaching – never! Taking anything for granted will close the doors of real awareness and get attached to a fixed path. I want to discuss these observations and request you to honestly ask your own self or be aware of where our action comes from.

It isn’t easy to imagine a blank canvas but not un-attainable. We have to get inside everything to be aware of the phenomenon truly. If we are to observe our own actions – we meaning the product of our immoral and evil past – we, meaning the living example of humanity – we need to look at our efforts without getting influenced by knowledge. Else – if we think that this act of ours is violent or that act is an act of hatred, then we will be creating a difference between the observer and the action. We are violent – we are greedy – we are envious – and all these come from the self, which is a product of time and knowledge. We are conditioned to respond hate with hate, violence with violence, and be on a continuous chase under the influence of the immoral society we have built so far.

Evil exists in us – in our mind – knowledge is evil. Each of us is a reflection of humanity – our past – a product of time and knowledge – knowledge being the evil root of this immoral society with intellectual divisions we have built so far and where we continue to live. There is no wrong concept – we are the evil – we promote violence – hatred – greed – jealousy – the brutality – every day as the immoral society created by us – shapes all our thoughts and actions. We also need to understand how this society drives us to a constant chase for more of everything – be it arms, territory, love, material, knowledge, spirituality, acceptance, technology, everything – which again contributes to our envy, greed, hatred, and violence.

The human mind always seeks security from childhood till the day we die – and the circle of protection gets build from all knowledge we acquire. Knowledge being incomplete in all spheres – the wall of security and the corresponding illusion of self-image is also incomplete. We imagine we are secure with this religion; we are protected with this nation, we are secured in a relationship; we are safe in a position; we are confident in health. Since the image of security in our mind is never complete and based on incomplete knowledge and understanding – conflict occurs at all levels. 

Even in relation, the mind builds images of the other person based on 10 or 100 or maybe 1000 or more impressions – but can that image be a complete image of the person? And we merrily base our interactions on some assumptions based on this ‘incomplete’ image in our mind. We assume if I say this, he or she will feel/say/ think or act like this – we have got so conditioned – that this happens unconsciously sometimes. And since these images are never complete image – conflicts occur at all levels. Conflicts give birth to depression, frustration, hatred, violence, competition, anger, envy, and evils.

But our tradition says – to live you must suffer – you must toil – you must work hard – you must make an effort – else the traditional evils like religion, state, commerce, economy, and all other notional divisions cannot reap their harvest of fear, conflict, hatred, and violence.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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