Mind’s footprints are everywhere as mind follows its own tracks, leading, following, misleading, rebelling, seeking ever new doors only to linger in the doorway…
Conclude: you are not your mind; you are not the cognitive-affective-sensory mindprints in the sands of your consciousness; you are not your own footprints; you are that which leads, which breathes, which motivates, which animates…
But what is that?!
Good question (answers itself)!
In Kafka’s story The Metamorphosis, first published in 1915, the protagonist’s body turns into a cockroach. But that’s not the point. The point is that nothing else changes. The protagonist (and his neuroticism) remains the same.
This is the irony of change. Change happens on the backdrop of the changeless. As the body ages, to a large extent we still feel the same inside. As the body ages, the gap between our physical age and how old we feel inside seems to continually widen. Why not listen to this sense of internal sameness?
Sometimes I come across a piece of psychological thinking that is so clarifying, illuminating, enriching, and laconic that I feel instantly compelled to share it. This happens often, in fact.
For example, it happened tonight when I read a January 22nd blog-post by Lama Surya Das, entitled Deep Questioning. I encourage you to read his piece on being questioned and questioning yourself: it amounts to no less than a senior year of graduate-level counseling training (in value, not in duration).
His blog post took me back to a moment when – about a year ago, during an encounter with Lama Surya Das in Pittsburgh – I pointed a finger at him and “fired” an irreverent koan: “Who is this?”
[L]ooking in the mirror is [...] one of the most important philosophical acts we perform on ourselves daily.
Antonio De Nicholas, Four-Dimensional Man: Mediations Through Rg Veda
Water was the original mirror. But being dynamic water had no surface regularity to offer a consistent reflection. Let’s learn from that.
Get a large skillet or a cookie sheet and fill it with water. Place it on the kitchen counter and wait for the water to settle. Now look down into this liquid mirror to see the reflection of your face. Get real close to the surface of this mirror. Face to face with your reflection. Notice: your breathing affects the reflecting surface. Or maybe, a strand of your hair falls right into the plane of reflection. Maybe, as you position your hands on each side of the counter to stabilize yourself, you will send a shiver of ripples through the water’s surface.
Mind is its own hostage. Each identity schema, each self-concept, each self-description is both an adaptation and a handicap. The very anchors that helped you feel grounded may now hold you down with all the weight of their historical usefulness.
Yes, mind is its own hostage. But mind is also its own search-and-rescue. Take a look at what of what you are is no longer you…
There is still time left this weekend. Un-mind to un-wind. Re-cognize* your Self (non-verbally, non-conceptually) to re-lax. Ask yourself: “Who am I?” and ignore the thought-answers.
Some thoughts prompted by the divisive (i.e. dualistic, dichotomous, all-or-nothing) rhetoric and the Chinese visit…
The real threat to America (as I see it through my limited mind-lens) is not an economical one or a geopolitical one but a psychological one, not from outside but from within.
America is undergoing a major loss of identity. We used to think that we are 1st-this and 1st-that. And now we are learning that we aren’t. Well, the fact of the matter is, that we never were any particular “this” or any particular “that.”
We – American consciousness, collectively, and American minds, individually, (as consciousness and minds anywhere) – are beyond simplistic objectification.
Trance music is a good choice to facilitate a sense of timelessness.
Trance typically doesn’t have lyrics: it doesn’t pump semantic information into your mind. When you follow lyrics, you are participating in a memory, rather than participating in the present. Memory is a distraction from what is.
Trance is structurally progressive: it carries you forward with ever changing increments of melody and avoids the repetitive, looping quality of non-trance music. Trance tracks are continuously remixed which preempts any expectation sets. The tracks are long and seamlessly stitched together.
See the dog chasing its tail?
That’s still easy.
You chasing your own “I.”
My first 2011 eating moment: a (tennis-ball sized) turnip in my hand (good enough for throwing, good enough for eating); imperfectly spherical (like a weathered, scuffed polyurethane skateboard wheel) with white and purple “tread,” still cold (out of the fridge); with stinging subtle sweetness, texture of a very unripe Bosc pear. I think I’ll have another one and make a breakfast out of this root. Who knows, I might just feel rooted and grounded for a whole year…
Was your first 2011 eating experience a mindless or a mindful one? Do share your experience!
It’s simple, really. First, look at your food (I looked at the turnip in my hand and saw a skateboard wheel), and then look at yourself (introspectively) to notice this eating moment (in my case today, the texture of a turnip reminded me of the texture of a pair).
Bite into the moment to have a taste of what is. And, of course, it helps to track mindfuls.
Mindful Eating to you in 2011 and on!