You see, we over-identify with our brains. We think of brains as our central organs whereas in reality we are a massive neural colony (nervous system) on a body-wide scale. We think that we are in our skulls. But we aren’t. We – the neural colonies that inhabit a given body – are all throughout. You are not just in your skull. You are also in your fingertips and in your toes. You are everywhere you find the neurons that you are along with all of your axonal or dendritic extensions.
“We have seen the whole and we are extraordinarily alive.” (1)
Having seen the Whole we have seen ourselves… and yes, we are extraordinarily alive.
A Part that recognizes itself as a Whole stops being apart, stops being an “I” and becomes a “We.”
Subject-Object duality is a vestige of our predatory nature: a life-form (such as you) eyes (sees) another life-form; zooms in, focuses, attends… to see if this other life-form is fit to eat; subject-object duality is born: “I” want “it.” This is our evolutionary past: our attention evolved to track patterns.
To attend is to objectify, to turn an aspect of reality into an “object,” into a “thing.” When you objectify an aspect of your environment at the very same time you are also objectifying yourself, turning your unconditional sense of being into a “thing” called “self.” Indeed, to attend to the Other is to distill yourself into a stand-alone Self out of the oneness of what surrounds you. Immersed in all that is at a baseline, we pop out of this anonymity of mindlessness as soon as we begin to track and hunt patterns.
We are first and foremost informational hunter-gatherers.
Short answer: mind is just another four-letter word.
Long answer: mind is a body that thinks it is not a body but something separate from it. Thus, a mind is a deluded body. Once again: here you are, a “mind,” thinking that you are “in” a “body,” but you aren’t “in” a body. You are a body, a body thinking that you are a mind, i.e. a body that does not know oneself, a body that thinks it isn’t what it is but something else. But you aren’t anything else. You are this body. That’s all. I hope it’s enough since there isn’t anything else.
Sure, you can call this “mind” a subtle body, or a body-within-a-body, or an inner body, but a body is still a body even if it’s in the form of a nesting doll set. You are one, not two, even if you use two words (body and mind) to describe this two-dimensional oneness of yours.
“Yam gruel is a gruel made by boiling slices of yam in a soup of sweet arrow-root. […] It was regarded as the supreme delicacy. […] Accordingly, such lower officials as Goi could taste it only once a year when they were invited as […] guests to the Regent’s Palace. […] On such occasion they could eat no more of it than barely enough to moisten their lips. So it had been [Goi’s] long-cherished desire to satiate himself with yam gruel. Of course, he himself did not confide his desire to anyone. He himself might not have been clearly aware that it had been his life-long wish. But as a matter of fact, it would hardly be too much to say that he lived for this purpose. A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.”
I have but one question for you today, but I’ll state it thrice:
Are you aware of what drives you and why?
What yam gruel are you still chasing?
Have you had a taste of life yet?
Note to Mere Spectators of Life: if you happen to have the wisdom of merely noticing “what is,” without chasing it, I salute your equanimity!
Reference: Rashomon & Other Stories, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Life is hardware with software. Hardware without software is dead matter. Hardware with software is living matter. But hardware and software are not two. Software is when hardware softens. When hardware softens to enable self-reflection it becomes software. Software is just self-aware hardware.
Hardware that is aware of self is also aware of other. Life runs on self-other duality: to know other is to know self; to know self is to know other. But, of course, self is other and other is self (since this world knows no true separateness).
Confused? Enlightened? Doesn’t matter as long as this reading served as a neural cleanse of sorts for your mindware. When you started reading this you were mentally at point A. Now you are mentally at point B. Your mind moved on (even if your body hasn’t). It’s always like that: mind rinses itself. What’s next? C for yourself.
Postscript: When lost in flow, find flow to rediscover yourself. Whether it’s from A to B or from B to C or from A to C is irrelevant. No need to get hung up on the informational specifics of the content that flows through your mind. Flow itself is the anchor.
Take a look at any object in your immediate environment: say, you are looking at a “so-called” (I’ll explain the “so-called” parenthetical in a few moments) cup. Say, I picked it up from your desk and asked: “What is this?” You’d say: “A cup.” And I’d say: “No, what is this?” After a moment of bemusement, you might offer: “A mug?” And I – with the best of the poker faces – would stay firm: “No, what is this?”
After a pause and/or after a little friendly prodding from me, you might suggest: “A container for liquids?” To welcome the emerging looseness of your associations, I’d kick the door of your mind with a more clue-like question: “Yes… What else could this object be?” With this prompt, you’d likely fire off a series of ideas: “A paper-weight, a weapon if you throw it, a small hand-held shovel…”
So here we are: what used to be a cup now has acquired some additional meanings, by virtue of re-association…
Where am I going with this? Okay: let me reiterate the thesis: meaning is an association. When, as kids, we first encounter a new object, we ask: “Mom/Dad, what is this?” “It’s a fork,” Mom/Dad programs our mind… “And this (fill in the blank)?” Mom/Dad: “This is (fill in the blank).”
Are you rationalizing Determinism into Free Choice or are you rationalizing Free Choice into Determinism?
In other words, are you taking conscious credit for what had to be or are you explaining away a choice you freely made by blaming the context, the situation, the environment, the circumstance?
In other words, what is your Rationalization Vector today? How exactly are you saving your face? By internalizing or externalizing?
Accept whatever you observe. Whether you are externalizing or internalizing, you are coping, i.e. taking care of yourself. That makes emotionally-pragmatic sense.
Conclude: rationalization – however misguided – is rational.
FYI: I catch myself going both ways most days.
Purpose: a dose of pattern-interruption for the minds-on-the-go.
Format: five pattern-interruption thoughts to wake you up.
Here we go:
1. Kindness is a willingness to be inconvenienced.
2. Whenever your nervous system learns all of the known false alarms, you will know bliss.
3. Time isn’t money. Time is consciousness.
4. If you’ve been stupified, you’ve been enlightened. Congratulations!
5. Ego is a force. Step aside.
Be well. Be awake. Be!
There is no history… nor future… but only always the language-filled present. Linguistic convention creates the illusion of time’s arrow… We are steeped in the medium we discuss.
There was a time when I wouldn’t’ve had a clue as to what Sagan means to say with this thought. But, thankfully, with ceaseless introspections and meditations, I have figured it out.
I hope you have.
Insights such as these – in my opinion – cannot be taught. These revelations have to be personally and immediately discovered. And once personally understood, they are forever crystallized and deepened.
You know what I am saying?